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Breaking the stigma: Herschel Walker spotlights mental fitness to D-M Airmen

DAVIS-MONTHAN AIR FORCE BASE, Ariz. -- Herschel Walker, former NFL running back and Patriot Support Program spokesman, shared his experiences about leadership and mental illness with Airmen and civilians at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Oct. 4.

As part of the Patriot Support Anti-Stigma campaign, Walker has visited approximately 160 military installations since 2008 to destigmatize mental health issues in the military community.

According to the Herschel Walker Campaign page, his story about dissociative identity disorder has reached over 141,000 service members.

While speaking with students at the Airman Leadership School here, Walker said that as a leader you always have to be resilient, stand back up, and be a leader all the time.

During his talk, he advocated that asking for help in regards to mental health is an important part of being a leader to Airmen.

"It was an amazing experience on multiple levels," said Senior Airman Steven Armstrong, 355th Medical Support Squadron medical laboratory technician.

Walker also described how he was able to seek help with his diagnosis while still being a successful athlete and business owner.

"There's strength in asking for help, and he definitely showed us you can pick yourself up and make the most out of almost any situation," said Master Sgt. Jacob Galan, Airman Leadership School commandant. "His humility and transparency made his message that much more powerful."

In addition to Airman Leadership School, Walker made visits to the base theater, Desert Inn dining facility and the 355th Medical Group Annex building to share his own experiences of why maintaining a healthy mental state is so important.

"Herschel Walker made a lasting impact on our future Air Force leaders by showing us that even the strongest people need help at times in their lives for various reasons," Galan said.

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