The updated strategic plan includes the goal of recovery to elevate awareness for comprehensive victim-centered support, during the initial response and beyond. The goal of recovery focuses on holistic, comprehensive, and flexible victim recovery to facilitate a return to wellness. This new goal identifies objectives that enable innovative solutions for continued service for victims, sustain career long availability of military sexual trauma support, and outline training for Coast Guard personnel to understand the full range of supportive care, legal options, and medical services available to victims.
Beating down the stigma of mental health has been difficult, but the more it is seen and discussed the easier it gets. For anyone who may be ignoring or stuffing their feelings, emotions, or possible traumatic events, I highly suggest seeking out help early and often even if it doesn’t seem like an event has affected you.
While we thankfully did not lose a Coast Guard member in the line of duty in 2014, we still endured significant losses to our Coast Guard, our families and our communities. Among the most painful were those lost due to suicide. Unfortunately, there is a negative stigma associated with suicide. But they are moms, dads, friends and coworkers. Most of all, they are people who are missed.
Arriving at home on the evening of March 3, 2015 I was still energized over the day’s events. If you had told me when my substance use was in its acute stage 13 years earlier that my future would include being a guest in the Coast Guard Headquarters Flag Mess with the Coast Guard Surgeon General and the Director of National Drug Control Policy…well, I would have thought you were crazy.