I am so very honored and excited to be part of this campaign to raise funds for a wonderful organization! Please consider supporting me in this endeavor. You can read more about why this is important to me below, as well as a little bit about what the Arredondo Family Foundation offers to veteran and their families.
With much gratitude,
"As a social worker embedded in a primary care doctor's office, I am often the first person that a patient has met in the mental health world. I find too often that the stigma associated with depression, anxiety, suicidal thoughts, "being crazy", keeps too many people from receiving the help that they deserve. I strongly feel it is part of my duty to not only support these individuals, but provide them with knowledge and education so that they can find some validation for their experiences, and perhaps also share this new information with friends and family.
As you can probably imagine, with Maine being in the top 5 in the US for "most veterans per capita", many of my patients have served in our armed forces. It is so upsetting to learn that many of them may have been suffering with symptoms alone for years, or with minimal support, because of the biases rampant in our society. Recently I had a veteran in my office who met every single criteria for PTSD, reported to me that he had been dealing with these symptoms for a decade, and had never received counseling or support around them. He told me "I need to be seen as strong", and the implication that getting support would weaken others' views of him broke my heart.
This also becomes personal for me, as my grandfather was a career Marine, serving in both Korea and Vietnam. My boyfriend is also a Marine veteran, serving two deployments overseas. I am so very proud of both of them.
I was very happy to learn about the Arredondo Family Foundation and especially that their mission includes outreach/education to loved ones of those serving. I think this is one of the most crucial elements of mental health awareness; having informed communities so that anyone can recognize and reach out for support when they notice a member of the community struggling."
In 2015, Carlos and Mélida Arredondo decided to form the Arredondo Family Foundation in order to provide support to military families who have lost a family member to suicide. In 2016, suicide prevention was added to the menu of services. Since then 1000+ people have been trained by the foundation, the majority of which are veterans or military family members. Carlos and Melida has been volunteering on veterans and military family issues since 2005.
Background: Some may remember Carlos Arredondo as the "Man in the Cowboy Hat" who helped the injured at the Boston Marathon bombing in 2013.
Previously, in 2004, Alex Arredondo was killed while serving as a Marine in Iraq. His family members experienced intense grief and overwhelming loss. In 2011, Brian Arredondo, Alex's younger brother, took his life. He had never recovered from losing his brother. Please support this necessary work. For further information, visit the website by clicking here.