Help us combat negative impact of social isolation
There’s no doubt we are in the first miles of a marathon, not a sprint. And like a marathon, the ability to fight and recover from COVID-19 will require pacing, training and, perhaps more than anything else, mental and emotional toughness. That is why The Mission Continues is prioritizing the mental and emotional well being of our veterans by ensuring that they are connected to each other, staying sharp by gaining new skills, and have outlets to continue their impact in the communities where they are deeply invested.
The Mission Continues has long understood the importance of combating social isolation in ensuring that our veterans remain healthy and fit for the fight to come. That fight will be long and protracted, and will take place on the front lines of our communities when the immediate response is done.
Social isolation is a leading indicator of suicide for veterans—regardless of deployment or combat exposure status. Simply put, it can be lethal. Conversely, the positive impact of connectedness on mental health is evident. It shines bright in the camaraderie, compassion, and support our veterans offer to each other and community volunteers through good times and through challenging ones. We’ll need to nurture and harness that mental and emotional strength when we join recovery efforts on the ground.
It’s really easy to feel isolated during this important period of physical distancing. The Mission Continues is limiting the risks of that social isolation and lack of purpose, by providing opportunities to engage in productive and therapeutic connection activities and creating the environment to help prepare us for the marathon recovery over the coming months and years.
Here’s what we’re doing:
- We are awestruck with the innovation that Platoon Leaders in our network have displayed to stay connected to each other and in serving and supporting their communities. Please take a few moments to watch these two short videos from Platoon Leaders in Houston and Pittsburgh. I’m certain you’ll be inspired by their dedication, leadership and optimism.
- Last week we shared that our Platoon Leadership teams had conducted more than 2,000 virtual and telephonic buddy checks. This week that number is nearing 3,000. Click here to get connected to a platoon in your area.
- We have launched a nationwide survey, to assess veterans’ most pressing and emerging needs. Guided by their voices and insights, we will collaborate with VSO and community partners to determine how we can best help them manage through. I encourage you to respond, and to share broadly with your networks.
- As this new video explains, we are excited to serve in honor of Earth Day—even if this year looks a little different than our traditional projects. Our Earth Day page suggests six simple service ideas that—when taken together—will translate into real impact in a time of physical distancing. Join us and take your #RootedInService pledge today.
During this very trying time, our commitment to our mission has not waivered. When veterans commit to programs like ours, focused on leadership development, focused on how much we need them to do the hard work in our communities, we can prevent them from becoming statistics.
Mary Beth Bruggeman
President, The Mission Continues