Mad Men(tal Health Awareness) and the Military Community: The Details Behind the Agency’s 2022 Initiative

No one is immune to the potential havoc poor mental health can wreak, albeit some are more likely than others to develop such conditions over time. In particular, military veterans and their families are susceptible to these challenges, making the Jacksonville community especially prone to mental health-related struggles.

Thus, as the National Mental Health Awareness Month theme for 2022 is “Together for Mental Health,” Mad Men Marketing decided it was time to advocate for local military families by raising awareness about EMDR.

What is EMDR?

“Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) therapy is an extensively researched, effective psychotherapy method proven to help people recover from trauma and other distressing life experiences, including PTSD, anxiety, depression, and panic disorders,” the EMDR International Association explains.

Moreover, this therapeutic approach is recognized for its efficacy by such organizations as:

  • The American Psychiatric Association
  • The American Psychological Association
  • The World Health Organization
  • The International Society for Traumatic Stress Studies
  • And more

EMDR is executed using a combined method of memory recall and bilateral stimulation. Most often, this stimulation is accomplished through horizontal eye movements. Thus, the patient can experience desensitization to disturbing or traumatic thoughts and memory patterns.

According to the American Psychological Association (APA), EMDR treatment consists of the eight following phases:

  • Phase 1 — History-taking
  • Phase 2 — Preparing the client
  • Phase 3 — Assessing the target memory
  • Phases 4-7 — Processing the memory to an adaptive resolution
  • Phase 8 — Evaluating treatment results

How Can It Help Our Community?

As reported by the U.S. Census Bureau, Jacksonville’s veteran population reached approximately 78,558 veterans as of 2019 — and has likely increased in the last several years. Additionally, In 2019 the 2021 National Veteran Suicide Prevention Annual Report detailed the rising rate of suicide among veterans: approximately 17.2 per day.

But the veterans themselves are not the only ones to personally suffer as a result of such trauma. In fact, in 2018, the Defense Department released its inaugural study on both suicide rates and the overall mental health status of military families; namely, the veterans’ spouses and dependents.

Consequently, EMDR may help deter suicides within the Jacksonville community — both in terms of the veterans and their families, the likes of which are spread widely across Northeast Florida.

And if you still maintain any doubt, you can turn to the government itself for assurance:

“In 2004, the Department of Defense/Department of Veterans Affairs Practice Guidelines have placed EMDR in the highest category, recommended for all trauma populations at all times,” according to the EMDR Institute.

What Is Mad Men Marketing Doing?

Throughout the month of May, Mad Men Marketing will display a series of blinking lights in its windows in order to simulate the bilateral eye movements associated with EMDR.

The agency will also be offering a series of social media posts and YouTube videos meant to educate the local community about what EMDR is, how trauma impacts the community itself, and how one may move through the different stages of the emotional recovery journey.

Otherwise, if you know a veteran who is struggling, we encourage you to call the Veterans Crisis Hotline at 800-273-8255.

If you know a non-veteran individual who is struggling, please consider contacting the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-8255.