Mental Health has many meanings and shows up in many ways. I speak only as someone who has dealt with issues in my life and has been exposed to people in my life who have had to deal with far greater issues than I.
Last year, I was fortunate to become involved with the Soldiers Arts Academy. Amanda Faber started Soldiers Arts after completing several theatre workshops with a group of ‘Ex Service Personnel’. Amanda went on to form the SAA as a way for ex military to utilize the arts as a vehicle to move forward after leaving service. It’s not for everyone but it has been a huge support and in many situations, a life saving one. It brings together a group of us so that we can learn from each other as we discover more about ourselves through the arts. Options include drama, writing, photography, sculpting, dance and several other workshops.
What I have found over the last year is that we pick up where we left off no matter how long ago we left the service and no matter who we are with. The military is one big extended family and being around like-minded people is the common thread that ties us all together. We laugh at the same humour, nod without explanation at the same experiences and sometime cry because of the same losses. Being around each other gives us a sense of family and belonging again and for that we are grateful.