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How I Overcame the Stigma of Mental Illness and Saved My Life

Because of the stigma associated with seeking mental health care, many service members are reluctant to seek treatment. Navy Capt. Todd Kruder understands this firsthand. Before receiving treatment, Kruder suffered from severe depression and suicidal thoughts. In this video, Kruder discusses how he overcame the stigma of mental illness and his journey toward recovery, which offers hope to those who may be suffering in silence that their lives can improve.

Featured in the video is the Real Warriors Campaign, a multimedia public education effort to combat the stigma associated with seeking psychological health care. Visit for a variety of information, resources and opportunities to connect with other service members, veterans and families. You may also find the resources below helpful:

If you’re a service member in crisis, or know someone who is, free and confidential support is available 24/7 through the Military Crisis Line. Call 800-273-8255 (press 1), chat online or text 838255 for immediate assistance.

Comments (4)

  • What an incredible journey with many lessons learned for others to benefit from. Is it possible to connect with CAPT Todd Kruder? We are working with a non-profit focused on Depression in Men, and we would like to learn more from CAPT Kruder from his experience and how we can engage more men.
    Thank you, Patrick
  • @Patrick, Thank you for sharing your interest in this story. If you'd like to connect with Capt. Kruder, please go through Capital News Service. Contact information is listed on the news outlet's website at
  • Capt Kruder,

    First and foremost, thank you for your service and for sharing this very private story with us. As a RN and the Executive Director of Faces of Americas Brave, I have long since been troubled by the obstacles that serve as a barrier to many needing appropriate treatment for depression, anxiety, PTSD, etc. but don't always ask for it. The Mission for our organization is to increase awareness thru education, reduce stigma and create an organization that serves as a conduit to links/services to access care. I've cared for Veterans who spent upwards of 25 years struggling with mental health issues and uncomfortable to seek care. By the time they came to the hospital it was usually after suicide attempts, struggles with drugs and alcohol, failed relationships, etc. " With increased awareness and education, it is my hope we can overcome stigma and lead those who need, to access treatment and care.

    Your voice and story carry such a powerful message that others should hear. Thank you again for sharing such a personal and touching story with us.

    Wishing you & your yours a safe and lovely holiday season,

    Kim West

  • @Kim, Thank you for sharing, and thank you for your dedication to supporting our service members.

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This page was last updated on: September 14, 2017.