Stephanie Ayres, Real Warriors Campaign media relations lead on January 8, 2013
“Loyalty is extremely important to us and if you say you are part of the Army and part of something larger than yourself, that loyalty to the person to the left or right of you, or the superior or the subordinate — it means something.” – U.S. Army Sgt. Maj. Ray Chandler
For the most senior enlisted member of the U.S. Army, Sgt. Maj. Ray Chandler, a critical part of loyalty is supporting fellow warriors who may be in need of psychological health care or support. In a new video for the Real Warriors Campaign, Chandler shares his own experiences in reaching out for support while maintaining a successful military career.
During a 2004 deployment to Iraq, Chandler began experiencing combat stress after narrowly escaping death when a rocket crashed into the office where he was working. In the video profile, he talks openly about this traumatic event and how his attempts to deny his mortality started him down a destructive path until he finally chose to get help. After two years of both marriage and individual counseling, Chandler says, “I personally believe that I am a better human being. I am a better husband and I am a better father … I’m also a better soldier.”
Chandler shares how he was encouraged by the highest levels of Army leadership, and talks about the responsibilities every warrior has to look out for each other. “If you are a leader, or a battle buddy of another soldier who may be in crisis, or may just have some challenges, you’ve got a duty,” he says. “You’ve got a duty to try to help your brother or sister.
“So, if I can be the sergeant major of the Army and my boss who was the chief of staff of the Army accepts the fact that I am in behavioral health care counseling, and can still do this and do it fairly well, then I think it’s OK for any soldier to be in behavioral health care counseling and do their job. We need every single one of them. We need them as emotionally, as spiritually and as physically healthy as we possibly can.”
Visit realwarriors.net for more stories of real service members and veterans who have reached out for psychological health care or support with successful outcomes, including learning coping tools, maintaining their security clearance and continuing to succeed in their military or civilian careers.
And, if you need information on what treatment options are available for you, contact the DCoE Outreach Center at 866-966-1020, firstname.lastname@example.org or choose the online chat option. A health resource consultant is available 24/7.