AN OPEN MESSAGE ABOUT 'VETERAN STIGMA':
What do we mean when we say veteran stigma?
We don't mean public perception of former service-members.
We mean the stigma of veterans denying available resources because they don't consider themselves 'veteran enough.'
Here are examples:
“I’m not society’s idea of a ‘veteran’. I never even deployed."
Look, not everyone is an operator, and you don’t have to try to be. Perpetuating and idolizing unnecessary machismo is a disservice to those who have served. The military industrial complex is an orchestra, comprised of individuals doing specific jobs that ensure the overall mission progresses.
We understand that you were in administration, or communications, or were a mechanic. We understand that you were security forces, and services, and intelligence & operations. We understand that there’s a need for you - for medics, paralegals, and EO, just as much as there is a need for pilots, rangers, and special forces. We don’t exclude anyone; we only care that you have a DD-214.
"I’m not veteran enough to accept services offered and I'm embarrassed."
Some of us had a great time in service, a lot of us - like me - didn’t. But what matters now is that we're all veterans. Our goal is to reach out to those who might feel embarrassed about their time in service, or don’t fit the common stereotype, and let them know it’s okay. It’s okay to say you’re a vet, even if you don’t fit the mold, or had a discharge other than honorable.
Every single person joined the service for their own reason. For some, patriotism was enough. For others, they needed to escape their situation, they needed direction and purpose, and for others maybe they needed to pay the bills.
“I don’t even like some of my former colleagues, I wouldn't want to meet them again.”
Not everyone does either! We’ve all had bad bosses, and bad coworkers, but we’ve all had good ones too. And we’ve found nothing short of good times whenever we exchange stories with others who have served.
It's common to feel isolated and angry, and think "No one understands what I’m going through." We've said the same thing, and felt the same way. But it’s a false narrative - there are many others that have similar struggles, and can understand you. Let us help you connect to them, and in turn, help each other. While our mission statement is to get veterans to make new friends and create new connections, we also hope this helps prevent others from harming themselves.
"You get all of that and still want to make this? That doesn't make sense."
Every veteran left service on their own unique circumstance. Some had great time in service; others left with a sour taste in their mouth. . But that doesn’t matter: you’re a veteran now, and there’s plenty of others out there that feel the same way as you do. Outside of brotherly and sisterly love/hate bickering between branches, now more than ever, you have an obligation:
Because no matter what your job was, no matter where you were stationed, no matter what rank you were when you got out, you still put on the uniform. Embrace the camaraderie you had when you were in, find other veterans like you, and help each other out!
We know that being a veteran doesn’t define you; you’re a person first. But you are veteran for life, and that comes with a bit of responsibility:
It’s no secret that there are too many of us, former brothers and sisters in arms, that have thoughts of self-harm.
Standing by without action is a no-go and is completely unsat.
It’s easier to notice a difference in a buddy’s behavior, it’s harder to reflect on our own mental health. We can tell when a buddy is drinking too much. We can tell when someone needs help, financially, emotionally, or just might need someone to talk to and get some guidance. We’re creating our own buddy system through our product, so we could look out for each other.
So quit your bullshit. We’re here to help you, and you’re here to help your unknown comrade-in-arms, before we have to contact the honor guard to do another funeral service.
Whatever job you did before doesn’t matter here; now, we’re hoping you do your small duty in helping your fellow service member!