Jun 12, 2016 5:30 PM

NAMI welcomes veterans with mental health issues to join in on speaker training exercise

CONCORD - Veterans and their families were welcomed with open arms Sunday morning to join a free training exercise, teaching those with mental health issues and PTSD how to break through the barrier of stigma and share their story with others.

"A lot of people in the military are afraid to go out and get treatment, and there's no need to be afraid because of all the support you get with NAMI," Helena Clough Davis, a Marine veteran said.

For hundreds of years, veterans have been proudly serving our country, keeping us safe, and enduring the unthinkable while putting their lives on the line. But when it's time to come home, some are left with scars that cannot be seen by others.

"I would like to discuss my mental health issues with my fellow military and civilians alike," Air Force veteran William Lefebvre said.

Many veterans and their families suffer in silence, reluctant to seek help for the invisible wounds war has the power of leaving. NAMI New Hampshire gave local veterans a chance on Sunday to share their stories in a closed and safe environment through a speaker training program.

"You know someone's always got your back, you know somebody will always understand what you're going through," Kimberly Somarriba, a military family outreach specialist said.

"It's such a wonderful opportunity for people to be able to tell their stories, share their stories, get the energy out," veteran Alan Wilbar said.

Others joined as family members to share their stories.

"I'm here to help families understand that there are other people that go through what you go through, and that it's okay to ask for help and that help is available," Cathie Schofield said.

"I think a lot of times people, you know, know what they'd want to share, and they don't know how to share it, and this sort of breaks it down into a step by step format. It just walks people through the process of being able to talk about the challenges they faced," Somarriba said.

Those who complete the training will have the opportunity to join a professional speaker's bureau and be a voice for veteran and military families in New Hampshire.

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