After being recognized for his incredible commitment of $1 million to launch the Wins for Warriors initiative, Justin Verlander is an advocate for our veterans by supporting our servicemembers and their families while they are on their way to recovery.

"These men and women are taught to be big and strong; some come home and need our help, but they won’t be the first to raise their hand."

Mediaplanet: One in three Iraq and Afghanistan veterans who experience combat will eventually experience significant mental health challenges. Why do you feel so many of those do not seek help and how can we change this?

Justin Verlander: Sadly, many don’t seek help because of the stigma associated with receiving mental healthcare.  These men and women are taught to be big and strong; some come home and need our help, but they won’t be the first to raise their hand. This program is a way to reach out and show our support.

Mutual admiration: Justin Verlander is flanked by two military fans at a Detroit Tigers game.  His Wins for Warriors program is aimed at providing much-needed mental health services to service men and women.

Credit:

MP: You have been recognized in making an incredible commitment of $1 million to launch the Wins for Warriors initiative. What is the goal of this campaign?

JV: Wins for Warriors supports the mental health and emotional well-being of Iraq and Afghanistan veterans and their families in Detroit, Richmond, Va., and Norfolk, Va.  Our goal is to help erase the stigma around veterans and their families who seek mental health services and join together to provide the support they need.

"I am very fortunate to be in this situation, playing the game I love.  I believe I would not be here if it were not for these men and women."

MP: How do you hope your support in this mission will help these men, women and families have access to the care they need and deserve?

Showing gratitude:  Justin Verlander feels fortunate to be able to do what he loves everyday play baseball.  "I believe I would not be here if it were not for these men and women," says Verlander.

Credit:

JV: Wins for Warriors is devoted to sustaining successful programs that work with veterans and their families along the process of recovery, because one size does not fit all. Partnering with Give an Hour, we will launch two new positions on the ground in Detroit and the Richmond/Norfolk markets to target these regions in order to coordinate services and provide additional mental health support and care to the military communities there.

We are also working with The Mission Continues to award three new fellowships, one from each of the three target regions, empowering Veterans to transform their own lives by serving others and directly impacting their communities.

MP: If you could get one message across to our readers about the veteran community, what would it be?

JV: I am very fortunate to be in this situation, playing the game I love.  I believe I would not be here if it were not for these men and women.  When they return home it is not just the veterans who face challenges, but also the family members.  It is important to reach out and say it is OK to seek services and get the support you need.

editorial@mediaplanet.com