PhotoVoice: A Project for Veteran’s Mental Health and Wellbeing

Author: Movember
 
 


Twenty-two veterans die by suicide every single day, which is more than the number of active soldiers being lost in conflict. Veterans are disproportionately affected by psychological injuries, including PTSD, anxiety and depression. The Movember Foundation is supporting several veteran-focused programs as part of its ‘Making Connections for Mental Health and Wellbeing among Men and Boys’ initiative. This work is funded by Movember and delivered in partnership with Prevention Institute. 
 
One program includes supporting partners at Kankakee Community College in Illinois, an area where veterans must also contend with rates of unemployment and poverty higher than the state average. The program sets out to reinforce a learning community for student veterans, allowing them to build meaningful connections with one another as well as with specially-trained faculty staff for the support that they need. Movember funding has contributed to the development of a fully operational veterans center on campus at Kankakee Community College, and is contributing to the implementation of a project for veterans called PhotoVoice, which supports veteran participants in efforts to build connectedness, community and conversation through photography. These projects are helping increase social connectedness, enhance a sense of purpose, and cultivate engagement in the community for student veterans and veterans within the community.
 
This video shows how the ‘PhotoVoice’ component of this work is using the power of creativity and self-expression to reduce isolation, enhance socialization and support academic persistence - all of which are invaluable in building brighter prospects for our veterans’ futures.
 
Background on Making Connections:
The Making Connections initiative was created following a detailed landscape report funded by the Movember Foundation and developed by Prevention Institute. The report, Making Connections for Mental Health and Wellbeing Among Men and Boys in the U.S., was released In 2014. This report explored some of the underlying factors contributing to the mental health problems in the U.S. Across the interviews and the reports reviewed, consistent themes, trends, and challenges for men and boys emerged, including:
  • Disconnection and isolation—from community, peers, family, children and culture—are major factors that undermine men’s mental health.
  • Trauma, and its associated symptoms of mental and psychological illness, disproportionately impact boys and men of color, in addition to military service members, veterans, and their families.
  • Stressors such as lack of economic opportunity, unstable economy, growing inequity, and exposure to violence are negatively impacting mental health and wellbeing.
To date, the Movember Foundation has invested over $11M USD in the Making Connections initiative.

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