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Supporting Veteran Mental Health through Warriors Connect Project
Today is World Mental Health Day and just as I am every day, I’m proud of the work we are doing at the Bush Institute through our Military Service Initiative to support the mental health and well-being of our veterans. I’m especially proud of the innovative spirit that drives our programming. But today is special for all of us here at the Military Service Initiative. Along with all of our partners in the Warrior Wellness Alliance, we are announcing a new investment in research which we hope will improve and optimize the well-being of our post-9/11 warriors.
Through this new project, Warriors Connect, we are asking people to donate their social media information, so that scientists can begin to understand the connection between social media behaviors and mental health and well-being. We are undertaking this groundbreaking work with Qntfy, a company leading the way to identify innovative solutions at the intersection of behavioral health and data analytics.
Through this effort, we will take steps to understand the linkages between the way people talk and behave online and the health outcomes they experience. Addressing the invisible wounds has been a strong focus of the work we do at the Bush Institute, and the step we are taking today adds another layer of information to inform solutions for our warrior families.
Post-9/11 warriors bring exceptional value to the communities in which they live, work, and volunteer; but sometimes, mental health challenges create barriers that keep them from reaching their full potential. We know that when these warriors and their families are supported, they thrive and contribute to their communities in immeasurable ways. We hope that Warriors Connect will be a great complement to our existing work and will serve to advance innovations in public health for veterans and for Americans at large.
Our work in the Military Service Initiative has been rooted in collaboration, and Warriors Connect is no different. Along with our Warrior Wellness Alliance partners, we are reaching out to veterans and non-veterans alike to ask them to donate their social media information. You can donate your social media information beginning today at WarriorsConnect.OurDataHelps.Org
Kacie Kelly oversees and manages policy, operational, and programmatic efforts on veteran health and well-being, including the Warrior Wellness Alliance. She manages strategic efforts to promote the partnerships, collaboration, and alignment among organizations that are so crucial to fostering the health and well-being of post-9/11 Veterans.
Prior to this role, Kacie served as the National Director for Public-Private Partnerships in the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Office for Suicide Prevention where she was responsible for developing a comprehensive and integrated public health approach to prevent suicide among the 14 million Veterans not engaged in VA healthcare. Throughout her 15-year career with VA, she led innovative programs to serve more Veterans and their families through strategic partnerships within government and across public and private sectors. In addition, she has had leading roles to promote military culture competence in the community, outreach efforts to reduce stigma associated with seeking mental healthcare, and to enhance provider proficiency in evidence-based mental health care. She earned her Master of Health Sciences (MHS) at Louisiana State University and has a Graduate Certificate in Women in Public Policy and Politics from the University of Massachusetts - Boston. Kacie has also been an active volunteer in the New Orleans community where she served as a Commissioner on the BioDistrict Board of New Orleans and on the Board of Directors for the American Red Cross.Full Bio
Mental Health Awareness Month
May marks Mental Health Awareness Month, an opportunity to raise awareness and reduce stigma, particularly for veterans and the invisible wounds of war. Members from the Bush Institute’s Warrior Wellness Alliance offered their perspectives throughout the month to discuss what they wish more civilians understood about veteran mental health, post-traumatic stress and traumatic brain injuries. They also discussed how everyone can help get more warriors the care they need. Check out their videos below.
How a Community in New Orleans is Helping Veterans Transition
Dylan Tête, Executive Director and Founder, Bastion Community of Resilience will receive the George W. Bush Institute Military Service Citation at the Bush Center's Forum on Leadership.
Creating a Global Veteran Community
Deputy Director of Military Service Initiative Kacie Kelly recently spoke at an international veterans’ mental health conference: “Evidence, Innovation, and Practice” hosted by Kings College London and the Forces in Mind Trust Foundation.