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Honouring the Sacrifice: A Personal Reflection on Mental Health in the Military Community

As we gather on Remembrance Sunday to pay tribute to the courage and sacrifices of our military, it’s essential to shed light on the often unseen battles fought within the community. My personal journey is a testament to the profound impact of mental health struggles within military families. My father, a veteran of the Northern Ireland conflict, was shot during his service, an event that significantly impacted his mental well-being. The trauma he endured cast a long shadow, affecting not just him but our entire family. We learned to tiptoe around his mental health, navigating the delicate balance of support and space, a task both heartbreaking and necessary.

The aftermath of his experience was a daily struggle, with his mental health affecting every aspect of our lives. The trauma wasn’t just his burden; it became a shared weight, altering our family dynamics. We adapted, often tiptoeing around triggers, anxieties, and moments of despair, attempting to shield him from additional pain.

On this day of remembrance, I not only honor his service but also acknowledge the battles fought silently within our home. The impact of his experience on his mental well-being highlights the need for comprehensive mental health support within the military community. Let’s use this day to not only pay respects but also to advocate for open conversations, support, and resources to ensure the mental well-being of our military and their families. Their sacrifices deserve more than remembrance; they deserve dedicated care and support.

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