Calendar of Events
Tom Mahany started a hunger fast in 2009 to draw attention to posttraumatic stress (PTSD). He fasted again in 2012 when he learned that the number of suicides among veterans had doubled from June to July.
Now Mahany heads up the veterans’ advocacy group Honor for ALL, which organizes an annual event, Visible Honor for Invisible Wounds, to raise awareness about posttraumatic stress.
This year’s event recognized the passing of legislation introduced by U.S. Senator Heidi Heitkamp designating June 2014 as National Posttraumatic Stress Disorder Awareness Month. JB Moore, NAMI Manager for Military and Veterans Policy and Support, represented NAMI at the event.
Though usually held in Washington, D.C., Visible Honor for Invisible Wounds took place in New York City on Saturday, June 28, 2014 and was co-hosted by the Mental Health Association of New York City. The scope of the program was expanded to include first responders and victims of abuse.
The keynote speaker Staff Sergeant Ty Carter, who has struggled with PTSD, was the 2013 recipient of the Congressional Medal of Honor. When awarding the Medal of Honor, President Obama described SSgt. Carter this way, “He’s as tough as they come. And if he can find the courage and the strength to not only seek help, but also to speak out about it, to take care of himself and to stay strong, then so can you.”
In addition to SSgt. Carter, officials included commissioners from the New York City police and fire departments, representatives from the Chiefs of Staff of the Army and Navy; the Wounded Warrior Project; Iraq Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA); Service Women’s Action Network.
“It is reprehensible that an estimated 22 veterans take their lives each day”, declared JB in her remarks. “Posttraumatic stress is treatable. Let’s eradicate stigma!”
According to Mahany, “There was an unmistakable message from the event. Posttraumatic stress is an injury that needs to be accepted and honored as such. If we don’t attend to it, it will be allowed to progress into a disorder.”
Earlier this year, the Senate Armed Services Committee passed the Jacob Sexton Military Suicide Prevention Act of 2014 – introduced by U.S. Senator Joe Donnelly (D-Ind.), as part of this year’s National Defense Authorization (NDAA) bill. If passed, this legislation will: (1) Require annual mental health assessments for all service members-Active, Reserve, and Guard; (2) Establish a working group between the Department of Defense and Department of Health and Human Services; and (3) Require an interagency report to evaluate existing military mental health practices and provide recommendations for improvement.
According to Mary Giliberti, NAMI’s Executive Director, “The National Alliance on Mental Illness strongly supports the Jacob Sexton Military Suicide Prevention Act of 2014 and applauds Senator Donnelly for his recognition that suicide rates among active duty service members, National Guardsmen and Reservists are unacceptably high and in dire need of attention. This important piece of legislation advances NAMI’s goals of parity, accountability, collaboration and action.”
Honor for ALL is already at work organizing next year’s National Posttraumatic Stress Awareness activities. Events will be held in New York, Michigan, San Diego, and Indianapolis, all on Saturday June 27, 2015.
Tom Mahany believes the sure sign of true awareness about posttraumatic stress will be when Major League Baseball plays with purple bats for the month of June
Visible Honor for Invisible Wounds 28 June, thank you.
- Joe Geraci and Tim O’ Connor of Battle Buds introduced the concept of posttraumatic growth in which the individual who has been exposed to mental trauma now has the infrastructure and foundation to build a new understanding of life and personal development
- Ty Carter advance the idea of post-traumatic stress is something that we all experience to some extent at some point or points in our lives; and it is, beyond being distasteful and harrowing, an opportunity to learn and adjust.
- Dr. Frank Ochberg emphasized the idea that post-traumatic stress is an injury and for the benefit of the injured it needs to be referred as such.
- JB Moore of NAMI bolstered the need for parity between visible and invisible wounds and called for the establishment and entitlement of the Purple Heart for post-traumatic stress incurred in combat in order to curb the current discrimination against those who have incurred battlefield traumatic stress
- Deputy NYPD Commissioner Susan Herman stressed the need to end the stigma of mental trauma among first responders and victims of crime
This year’s VISIBLE HONOR FOR INVISIBLE WOUNDS
Presented by Honor for ALL to commemorate and promote National Post Traumatic Stress Awareness Day
Saturday, June 28, Foley Square – lower Manhattan, NYC
On June 28, 2014, Honor for ALL will again officially commemorate National Post-traumatic Stress Awareness Day by hosting Visible Honor for Invisible Wounds.
This year our annual event will be held in Foley Square, directly across the street from the Federal Court House at Center and Worth Streets in lower Manhattan – two blocks north of the west end of the Brooklyn Bridge.
Ceremonies begin at 10:00 AM and end shortly after noon with an open microphone to offer those in attendance the opportunity to speak if they wish.
We are partnering, for the first time, with the Mental Health Association of New York City and moving the venue from Washington, DC to Manhattan while expanding the scope of recognition beyond the military singularly, to include first responders and victims of abuse.
This is a completely open public event with no fundraising or vending of any kind.
In presenting Visible Honor for Invisible Wounds, we strive to affirm the bravery and sacrifice exhibited by those who protect our freedom and safety in the face of constant exposure to traumatic events. Moreover, we seek to avert the negative complications amassed through misunderstanding, prejudice and just plain neglect of post-traumatic stress. We endeavor to build honor and deny shame.
The keynote address will be delivered by Staff Sargent Ty Carter, 2013 recipient of the Congressional Medal of Honor. Joining him at the podium will be representatives from the offices of: the Chiefs of Staff of the Army and Navy; the Wounded Warrior Project; Iraq Afghanistan Veterans of America; Service Women’s Action Network; the FDNY Commissioner and NYPD Commissioner; individuals from the national healthcare sector, and last, but certainly not least, individuals among us now dealing with the everyday consequences of post-traumatic stress.
Please join us.