To the Norwich Family,
I am writing to remind our entire community - students, faculty, staff, families, and alum - that none of us is alone. We have many support services available through Norwich University and outside organizations. This statement is always true; we at Norwich are fully committed to the mental health of all, including our community of friends and partners.
This memo serves as a reminder of this commitment especially to our veteran community and their families in response to events unfolding in Afghanistan. Images over the past week have been deeply disturbing and are causing many to question their efforts and sacrifice. Many may not be aware I am a 100% disabled combat veteran with service in Afghanistan, some of which included significant loss. I have also lost members of my commands to mental distress due to their service in the wars we have been fighting for 20 years. Watching footage taken in Afghanistan, a country in which we invested so much blood, treasure, time, and life, makes it easy to question what it was all for.
Please hear me clearly when I say the sacrifices of our men and women in uniform were not in vain, and none of us should doubt our service. We kept our home front safe when post-9/11 attacks were expected, delivered hope to large swaths of populations who had none for generations, provided opportunities through which women could participate in political processes where they had not for decades, built schools and provided security for girls and boys to learn, and generally made life bearable when and where it had been inconceivably difficult. None of that has been washed away by the events of the past week, nor should it be less meaningful as we watch unfold what is likely to happen in the coming weeks, months, and years. We should all be proud of our service. I salute you, each of you.
The veterans of our Norwich community may be having a difficult time right now. So might their families; the spouses of those who spent countless holidays and important family events away from home, the sons and daughters of uniformed parents who sacrificed so much, and others who suffered along with us. Again, you are not alone. If anyone needs to talk, I am available personally. If not to me, students are encouraged to reach out to our Counseling and Wellness Center at 802-485-2134. If you are a member of our faculty or staff, please call 800-854-1446. Finally, if needed, please do not hesitate to use the following options. There is no shame in reaching out for help…I am not ashamed to admit I have done so. It does help.
Some of the options available to us:
- Veterans Crisis Line - If you are having thoughts of suicide, call 1-800-273-8255, then PRESS 1 or visit http://www.veteranscrisisline.net/. You may also chat online at https://www.veteranscrisisline.net/get-help/hotline or text message to 838255.
- If you are in immediate danger of hurting yourself, please call 911.
- Vet Centers (70% of Staff are Veterans); call 1-877-927-8387.
- net - information, resources, and Veteran to Veteran videos for challenging life events and experiences with mental health issues.
- Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors (TAPS): https://www.taps.org/requestapeermentor
- VA Women Veterans Call Center - Call or text 1-855-829-6636 (M-F 8am – 10pm & SAT 8am - 6:30pm EST)
- VA Caregiver Support Line - Call 1-855-260-3274 (M-F 8am – 10pm & SAT 8am – 5pm EST)
Finally, please remember, if you are a veteran and feeling affected by the events in Afghanistan and the region, your service is honored. If you are a family member of a service member, your support is appreciated and you should not hesitate to reach out if you need to talk. There is no shame in asking for help, no matter where, when, or how you served.
Thank you all for supporting our Norwich community and all the unique and powerful backgrounds we represent. We are individuals, but we thrive as Norwich Together, so we can be Norwich Forever.
Yours in Service,
Dr. Mark Anarumo
Colonel, USAF (Ret)