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The Military Minds Association is an active, connected membership that does not create programs or services but instead helps connect its members to those very programs and services that fulfill their needs.
PTSD is the end state of an Operational Stress Injury (an ‘OSI’). PTSD can be latent. As such, we help all of those in the mental health corridor between an OSI and PTSD. While PTSD members will need more intense attention, we want a larger footprint in the mental health for soldiers and their families “sector”. In Canada which is our international growth template there is no single entity whose sole purpose is to connect those afflicted with mental health issues to programs and services they and their families need. Almost all charities in this space raise money to create or fund programs whereas we raise and accept money for this mission to become a national, caring clearing house for connectivity.
That's how this all started— interconnected caring on a Facebook page in 2011 of one person—Cpl. Chris Dupee—to over a 89,000 person community that is multidimensional in its needs and support.
As part of their holistic needs, some need mental health services, some just need to talk, others need a job while still others need an education and so on. It is a confusing landscape for even those without an OSI: so many choices and offerings, determining the best path, where to start, who to call, DND versus VAC versus Provincial, Private and NGO help. There is no single entity that is trusted by soldiers and their families to turn to—no group of Sherpa’s who know the ropes.
Until now, because that’s what we live to do.
Military Minds is that unique organization that is trying to fill this void. We want to be the largest, trusted hub that connects the spokes. We have our spokes prioritized from the input of our member focus groups and now we have to fill in the connecting points of the spokes by finding out the best paths for our members and helping them get to where they need to go based on their individual needs.
After months of planning, we are now starting this venture we know it’s the right trek to take and we are asking you to join us in any way you can to fund or volunteer and get this organization fully engaged.
The money we raise is for outreach, not for new programs and services. Almost all of the money we raise will be for staff services because that is what we do: administrate, from the grass roots to the boots on the ground, in helping get our deserving members in need to connect with what they need, where they need it.
While most of our founding members either suffer from or are helping those with PTSD we know that this is at the end of a mental health continuum. PTSD is a condition that can be onset relatively quickly but can also present in a potentially longer, progressive ailment well after the fact. Symptoms must be recognized as soon as possible and connections to get treatment at the earliest times in order to have some form of stabilization realized.
As well, the affects of the mental health challenges that soldiers and their families have are more than strictly health and therapeutically driven; their needs are holistic and interconnected to the whole life experience—when afflicted, many things suffer and can cause a downward spiral from health and medicine to education and employment, from talking through issues to family counsel, from financial help and paperwork claims to legal issues, substance abuse and finding a place to live. All of these.
In short, early and clear connections for intervention and ongoing help need to be easy to find and access for our members and their families. Thus, the content that is needed is deep and broad to match the needs of our membership. Our goal is to fully investigate and item bank the local and national avenues of help and then give them our trusted stamp of partnership so we can move our members towards them. By working with these recognized organizations as knowledgeable coaches and Sherpa’s we can enable our members and their families to move along towards proper care and facets in all parts of their life.
The following are the needs of our members and we will be driving to connect them with the partners and services they need in a more systematic fashion in 2013 and 2014:
There are four areas where we are working to assemble the right partners and connections for our members. In priority order for 2013 and 2014 they are:
#1: Personal medical mental health, personal health that is non-medically related, substance abuse issues, being around people who’ve gone to the same experience and help with paperwork;
#2: Managing their money, financial help or getting access to their claim
#3 Education or a job and help reintegrating into civilian society; and,
#4 Help for their family, legal aid and help putting a roof over their head.
We will use the money we get to build our national coaching and Sherpa group and to ensure a proper personnel infrastructure. We have begun to hold “Church basement outreach” meetings and we are assembling a proper meeting structure for input and output linkages. We are going to need things to expand like pc computers and iPad’s, software, our web site for linkage, information videos, liability insurance, room rentals and supplies and materials. We are going to need to build a staff of people who are paid to be specialized, trained coaches and Sherpa connectors for our members who can interact with professionals and other organizations who have those things our members need.