SIOUX CITY, Iowa (KCAU) – U.S. Air Force Technical Sgt. Jeff Campbell is raising awareness about mental health by walking from the east side of Iowa to the west.
The airman’s trip will be 389 miles long and will take 20 days. He started in Clinton, along the border of Illinois, and will end his journey in Sioux City.
Mental health is a cause that he feels passionate about.
“I want to remind people that they are not alone,” Campbell said when talking about the effects of mental illness.
Campbell works as a “Survival, Evasion, Resistance, Escape” specialist for the Iowa Air National Guard’s 185th Air Refueling Wing in Sioux City.
He stated that the main part of survival on the battlefield is having the mental strength or will to survive in very difficult situations.
“In the military, we do a really good job of giving our people all the equipment they need, but it simply comes down to mentality,” he said. “Do you have something that you’re holding on to, to get you out of this very small speck of time that you’re going through, that’s the big difference,” he added.
He mentions that mental health is not dissimilar from physical health, meaning staying healthy takes work.
Campbell said there are some things people can do in order to keep mentally healthy.
“I want to do what I can to empower people to talk about their emotions, feelings, and mental health concerns,” he said.
Because of social distancing and isolation due to COVID-19, mental health is a particular concern.
Campbell said issues concerning mental health can affect anyone. He mentions that it affects people in urban and rural areas and military members are not immune.
“It doesn’t matter who you are or where you come from, somebody cares,” he said.
He noted the importance of not bottling emotions up. He wants to encourage people to be ready to talk and ready to listen about their daily struggles.
“We need to teach people that these bubbles of time are not permanent,” Campbell added, saying that the way through a difficult situation is by talking to someone, even though opening up can be awkward.
Campbell said if people can start having these conversations, then they can start to strengthen their mental muscles.
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