Latino veteran raises awareness about PTSD, asks fellow soldiers to "take off warrior mask" and get help (VIDEO)
Dealing with the aftermath of war is difficult for any veteran, but for Latinos, who are often known for their stubborn pride and refusal to ask for help, it can be especially devastating. That's why Army Master Sergeant Mike Martinez decided to share his story in the USO's first Invisible Wounds public service announcement.
The PSA was made to raise awareness about the post-traumatic stress disorder and damaging brain injuries that many of the troops returning home now face. But Martinez is placing a special focus on Latino soldiers whose culture, he believes, associates mental illness with weakness.
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"I tell my Hispanic brothers that are still serving, don't let pride get in the way," Martinez says in the emotional and touching video. "Pride's going to kill you. Take that warrior mask off and if you need to, get help."
Martinez himself was diagnosed with PTSD and a traumatic brain injury in 2009 and even after years of rehab, he still struggles with both every day. But though he's medically retired, he continues to contribute to the war effort by encouraging his fellow Latinos who might be hesitant to ask for help.
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The PSA is particularly important now that the number of former service members seeking mental health care has vastly increased and the U.S. Office of Veterans Affairs has been unable to provide thorough treatment to many of them. It not only relays a significant message to all of the families and friends of veterans--who are often shocked to see that the person that came home is not the same as the one who left--but also reminds the world of the care, support, and respect we owe these real-life superheroes who constantly put their lives on the line to protect our country.
Have you or any of your family members dealt with post-traumatic stress issues after returning from war?
Image via CNN