President Joe Biden and Chinese President Xi Jinping will miss the COP28 climate summit. Even though the two recently met on climate change, many are not happy Biden won’t be in attendance with the nearly 200 other countries who will…
Experts Available to Discuss Mental Health Awareness Month
Did you know one in 5 adults in the U.S. experience a mental health condition in a given year? If you’re working on a story for Mental Health Awareness Month, our Syracuse University faculty experts are available for interviews. Please see their names, background, and thoughts about this month’s recognition below. If you’d like to schedule an interview, please reach out to Vanessa Marquette, media relations specialist, at email@example.com. You also can use their comments as is and link to this webpage for reference.
Tristan K. Martin, Ph.D., LMFT, is an assistant teaching professor at Syracuse University’s Falk College. He teaches courses in human sexuality, cultural diversity, and relationship therapy with LGBTQ clients. You can learn more about Professor Martin here. He writes:
“Mental health is a conversation that we all should be having; this month gives us a moment to reflect on those around us who may need additional support. For example, the LGBTQ community experiences higher rates of mental health needs. This is driven from the compounded impact of minority stress, or external discrimination which leads to psychological distress. This year a record number of anti-lgbt bills (417) have been introduced across the nation. This disheartening statistic highlights the overt discrimination and resulting fear for many. As the need for support increases, therapists should increase their accessibility to this community through LGBTQ-affirming therapy, offering support and validation of their lived experiences.”
Kenneth Marfilius, L.C.S.W., D.S.W., is an associate teaching professor of social work at Syracuse University’s Falk College. He served in the U.S. Air Force as a mental health therapist, family advocacy officer in charge, and as manager of the alcohol and drug prevention and treatment program. You can read more about him here. He writes:
“As we enter May, we are reminded that this month is not only Mental Health Awareness Month but also National Military Appreciation Month. These two themes are connected, as the military community faces unique challenges that can have an impact on their mental health. In addition, the month of May provides us with the opportunity to observe Military Spouse Day, Armed Forces Day, and Memorial Day. Throughout the month of May and every day, our military service members, veterans, and their families deserve our support. Prioritizing the mental health of our military communities strengthens the overall public health and well-being of our nation.
Military members and their families face a range of unique challenges that differ from civilian society, such as deployments, exposure to certain traumatic events, extended periods of separation from loved ones, and more. It’s important to recognize that these challenges are not just at the individual level but rooted in the culture of military life. To support the mental health and well-being of our military populations, we must advocate for specific resources and funding initiatives. This includes increased funding for mental health services, improved mental health screening and assessment, training for qualified mental health professionals, and continued support for military families.
According to the 2022 National Veteran Suicide Prevention Annual Report, “In 2020, there were 6,146 Veteran suicides. This was on average 16.8 per day. In 2020, there were 343 fewer Veteran suicides than in 2019, and the number of Veteran suicides was lower than each prior year since 2006.” The military and veteran communities have certainly made strides in recent years, but there is always more work to be done. Civilians play a critical role as well. By educating themselves on military culture and mental health, advocating for resources, and actively listening, civilians can make a difference in the lives of those who serve our country. Significant change can and does occur at the community level. Veterans and military families are highly active in our local communities across the nation and strengthen our social fabric. Having the right services in place at the community level, such as job trainings, access to quality education, parent support programs, and mental health services, allows our military communities to thrive and not just survive.
Veterans looking for help can find information on their local facility’s website or call the Veterans Crisis Line: Dial 988, then press 1, or text 838255 to connect with a VA responder. You don’t have to be enrolled in VA benefits or healthcare to connect.”
Aviva Vincent, Ph.D., an assistant teaching professor at Syracuse University’s Falk College, studies veterinary social work and currently teaches classes in the online master of social work degree program. You can read more about her here. She recently wrote about the burnout and mental health challenges veterinarians experience, sadly with many leading to suicide. She writes:
“A common assumption about the day-to-day experience of veterinary professionals is that they play with animals all day. While this assumption has elements of truth, it’s not the full picture of what happens on a daily basis behind closed doors. Veterinary teams are challenged with routine care of small and large animals to challenging cases, terminal diagnoses, and euthanasias. From working with pets to production animals, veterinary professionals often experience a rollercoaster of emotions. Unsurprisingly, there are many challenges facing the veterinary community causing a workforce shortage from individuals leaving the field due to burnout or financial reasons, retirement, and sadly death by suicide.” Read her full commentary here.