Eisenhower Army Medical Center is stamping out the stigma and raising awareness about mental health

AUGUSTA, Ga. (WJBF)- May is Mental Health Awareness Month and the Eisenhower army medical center is aiming to raise awareness through education.

Theresa Brisker served in the military as an Army Nurse core officer for 20 years. She now works as a Behavioral health nurse educator at Eisenhower where she focuses on behavioral and mental health. She says during her years of working in the field she’s noticed that there’s a stigma attached to mental illness.

“They may not want to say I have this problem or how many of us have family members with mental illness? The statistics say 1 in 5 people are affected by mental illness,” Brisker said.

There have been a lot of efforts by the United States Army to reduce stigma over the last decade. Colonel Jay Earles says the number of in-patient visits for mental illness has decreased because they’re catching the symptoms earlier than they used to.

“We’ve noticed a whole range of things either from initial adjustments issues to the military, for example Fort Gordon has a lot of trainees here. We have people who have deployed or have things happen in their life and they need a little help adjusting to,” Earles told NewsChannel 6.

He says they also provide treatment for specific disorders such as depression, anxiety, and post-traumatic stress disorders. In addition to active duty service members they also offer treatment for their families and retirees as well.

“We say like anything else, it’s better to deal with the problem earlier than later. Things may not get better on their own and all of the military has made great strides in addressing those things and providing those services for them,” Earles said.

Eisenhower takes pride in helping service members understand what resources are available so that they can make the best transition possible from their live as service members to their life as civilians.