Vet Fest a success, raising awareness and funds for mental health

December 11, 2019
Military line up with flags

Lowcountry Vet Fest was a fun way to raise raise awareness and funds for military veterans and their families. It was hosted by the Tri-County Veterans Support Network and the Department of Psychiatry at the Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC).

The Oct. 6 event was held at Danny Jones Ball Park in North Charleston. The live music festival was family friendly with food trucks, bounce houses, and local vendors. Just over $2,000 was raised for the Department of Psychiatry. The money will go to support veterans in need of emergency relief and mental health care.

It can be hard for veterans to connect with civilian life after returning from overseas, according to MUSC psychologist Melissa Milanak. That’s why she says making mental health support resources readily available is so important. “Whether it’s coming for PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder) or trauma, whether it’s for addictions and anxiety, sleep problems – the whole gamut. We’re providing support across that,” said Milanak.

Helen Bricka’s husband Fredric struggled with PTSD for years and took his own life in 2017. “It was like the perfect storm brewing in the end,” Bricka said. “I should have known then things were going all too well.” She hopes events like Vet Fest will give veterans the support they need to seek out mental health resources.

“If it saves one family from having to take this journey, then I’ve not only honored my husband and all those before him, unfortunately today and tomorrow,” she said. “Because it’s not about how they died, it’s about how they lived.”

For more information about the Veteran Hope Fund at MUSC, email psych-events@musc.edu.

Keywords: Winter 2019