This week, tragedy struck in Lewiston, Maine. An active member of the U.S. Army Reserve, Robert Card, went on a shooting rampage in a bowling alley, allegedly killing at least 18 people and injuring many others. At press, Card is still at large.
Throughout his service, Card has been a recipient of the Army Achievement Medal, Army Reserve Component Achievement Medal, Humanitarian Service Medal, National Defense Service Medal and Army Service Ribbon. However, in July of 2023 he began exhibiting mental health issues, and spent 2 weeks in the Keller Army Community Hospital at the U.S. Military Academy for evaluation after it was reported that he was hearing voices. These voices were telling him “horrible things”. Things appeared to escalate after his release, as his family reported that they reached out to police and his Army Reserve base as they got increasingly concerned in the last couple of months leading into this week’s massacre.
As with any mass shooting in America, the conversation has quickly shifted to concerns regarding access to firearms. Maine’s “red flag” laws require law enforcement agencies to seize a person’s firearms if they are considered to be a threat to themselves or others. Meanwhile, the state’s “yellow flag” law is more complicated in that it included a requirement that a mental health professional evaluate a person and judge them to be a threat before police can request a judicial hearing. Logically, the concerns regarding people with mental health issues having access to firearms is magnified when individuals have military training. According to the National Institute of Justice 28.5% of those who have perpetuated a mass shooting had a military background.
There’s no need to dig into the highly contentious topic of gun control, but we don’t think that anyone could possibly argue against one key thing – military personnel who have exhibited mental health issues need better access to support.
Kindbridge Behavioral Health is a staunch proponent of the fact that servicemen and servicewomen require greater access to mental health evaluations in addition to counseling and therapy services that are specific to their unique needs. While mental health impacts everyone, we suggest that military service people and veterans have a higher likelihood of having mental health challenges due to the difficult situations and circumstances that they experience. If unchecked, they, their families, and the American public in general may suffer tragic consequences that reverberate for generations to come. Consequently, Kindbridge Behavioral Health together with Kindbridge Research Institute (KRI) has launched initiatives to support veterans and active military personnel. Our Colorado Military Veterans Project is the most robust of them all. In partnership with the State of Colorado, KRI has made available four programs that provide active military personnel and veterans with access to important care services, support groups, post-secondary fellowships, and career training. These programs include the following:
- Free Online Mental Health Care for Family Members and Service People
- Online Peer Support Groups for Family Members and Service People
- Colorado Military Research Fellowship
- ROTC Education Program
View more about the Colorado Military Veterans Project here. More importantly, this project serves as a model of support that can be applied to all participating U.S. states. On that note, Kindbridge continues to offer dedicated counseling and therapy services for veterans and active military in all 50 states. You (or a loved one) does not need to be located in Colorado to get help today.
Other Military Related Resources of Interest:
- Mental Health Support for Military Veterans
- Acceptance and Commitment Therapy for Veterans
- Online Veteran Support Groups in Colorado
If you are a veteran or active member of the military in any capacity, and have been struggling with your mental health, please reach out to Kindbridge Behavioral Health right away.
Concerned Veterans, Military Personnel, and/or Related Organizations:
CALL +1 (877) 426-4258