Marine Corps Vets and Social Workers Seeking Contributors for “In Their Words,” A Book Written By, With, and For the Military and Veteran Community on Mental Health and Wellness.
by Seth Allard and Andy Denbow
You could say that Andy Denbow and Seth Allard stand out on the campus at Wayne State University, especially in the School of Social Work. When people think “social worker” or “academic,” they don’t often envision two former infantrymen, who divide their time between picking up the kids for softball or hockey practice and diving into academic journals and seeking opportunities for research and clinical interventions. Andy and Seth may comprise a small but growing ‘bearded battalion’ of Veterans-turned-scholars, who believe that, in the words of the Penguins of Madagascar (a movie that Seth apparently watched too many times), “if anyone is going to save us, it’s us.”
Right now, Seth, Andy, and a handful of colleagues are pursuing their most ambitious project: an edited volume written in collaboration with Service members, Veterans, and Military Families, titled In Their Words. The only thing that Seth and Andy need, as editors, are submissions from the Military and Veteran community to fill out this groundbreaking work.
In Their Words is a powerful and urgently needed book on the topic of mental health in the Military and Veteran community,” states their call for contributors. “This edited volume will focus on the lived experience and critical insight of those who possess more knowledge on the topic of Military and Veteran mental health than anyone – the Servicemembers, Veterans, Military Families, and Survivors themselves. We are seeking authors (or coauthors) from Military backgrounds to contribute chapters and special sections. Authors do not need to have an academic or writing background and are encouraged to take the gloves off – the structure, language, purpose, objectives, medium, and message you want to pursue is up to you.
Authors may submit anything from traditional research papers or essay-style writings to poetry, prose, short story, visual art (with written description), or other forms of expression. Topics can include PTSD, Suicide, Prevention, Moral Injury, Depression, Substance Use, Organizational Culture, Law and Policy, Cultural and Historical Perspectives, and other topics/themes.
The point of In Their Words is for members of the Military and Veteran community to be able to speak about the realities of mental health from their own unique (and in many ways common) experiences and perspectives, unrestrained. What needs to be talked about, and what isn’t talked about? What does our country, our Military and civilian leadership, and our Military and Veteran community need to know or put on center stage regarding mental health? How do we take action, and how would new policies, practices, programs, or sources of support reflect the realities that service members and veterans face?
This book will share and uphold the military and veteran communities’ perspectives and priorities nationally and across many audiences, from the general public, elected and appointed officials, military leadership, and professional communities, to religious leaders, journalists, current students, and future professionals.
Marine Corps combat Vet and recent psychology graduate Richard Mason, one of several writers slated to provide powerful contributions to this book, states that “it is important for veterans to have an outlet in which to tell their stories and speak on their experiences. Not every veteran is comfortable enough with researchers or clinicians to give the kind of raw, unadulterated viewpoints that could greatly impact and benefit the community as a whole.”
Mason believes that “by allowing veterans to speak their own words, in their own format, we can hear their voices loud and clear, without the filtration systems of politics and social media. I am looking forward to both providing my own insight as well as learning from those that participate in this much-needed project.”
Additional authors who may participate and show great interest include collaborative researchers and clinicians with decades of experience treating and exploring PTSD, resilience, moral injury and spiritual distress, and substance use, as well as high-ranking individuals within the US military. However, there is plenty of room to incorporate the many viewpoints and messages that our military and veteran community need – and deserve – to have heard.
Seth and Andy are taking proposals between February 21st and May 1st, 2023, with a 2-week response time. Submit proposals or questions and comments directly to Seth Allard firstname.lastname@example.org and Andy Denbow Gv0190@wayne.edu, with subject line “In Their Words Submission Proposal.” Include the following: Name; Brief bio, including military service/status; Topic(s) covered; a 3 – 5 sentence summary of your proposed submission; Type/style of submission (research paper, essay, poetry/prose, visual art w/description, short story, etc); Estimated length (including references/images; limit of 20 pages 1.5 spaced, 12 font).
Seth and Andy, and their fellow student Veterans, always seeking debate and critical conversation around health and wellbeing in our military community. But there is something the two Vets, who are also members of the budding Ian Fishback Society for Military and Veteran Scholars and currently serve as social work interns at the Detroit and Ann Arbor VA healthcare systems, always agree on. The voices and real-life experiences and culture of service members and Veterans should always be front and center in mental health policy and practice.
If rates of suicide and debilitating mental health problems are any indication, this is not and likely has never been the true case. But it doesn’t have to be that way. If interested, send your proposal, and share this call to action widely. We can make sure the country knows about the deep-rooted issues facing service members, veterans, and military families, “In Their Words.”
As the Voice of the Veteran Community, The Havok Journal seeks to publish a variety of perspectives on a number of sensitive subjects. Unless specifically noted otherwise, nothing we publish is an official point of view of The Havok Journal or any part of the U.S. government.