TD Bank Employee Gets Personal about Veterans and Mental Health

Anna Kelley

November 09, 2018 - Our Communities DC, DE, MD, VA Florida Maine New England New Jersey, New York and PA North and South Carolina

Anna Kelley, a Project Manager at TD Bank—and U.S. Air Force veteran—gets real about her service, her mental health challenges and why it's so important for companies to actively recruit veterans.

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My military service has had a significant impact on my career path. When I started working for TD, I began to understand how the skill sets I developed and learned in the military transferred over to many different roles within the Bank. What I learned in the military  has helped me be able to work side by side with many people in different LOBs , drive work progress forward, and provide a high quality output of work, while never compromising my integrity. The military also prepared me to step up as a leader when necessary, but also have no problem being a team player and taking orders to get tasks completed.

Addressing mental health challenges head-on

I was medically retired from the Air Force in 2016 with PTSD. After my first tour I didn’t want to admit I was struggling internally with self-worth, anxiety/ panic attacks, and depression, so I turned to drinking  so I wouldn’t have to deal with what I was feeling. After returning home from my second tour I fell back into the old habits of drowning my issues with alcohol. I was unmotivated, angry, and felt alone. I couldn’t leave the house by myself without having a panic attack, so the easy solution was to not leave the house, ever. Things have been getting better since I have started to take care of myself and get the help that I need with the support of my wife. I still have anxiety and panic attacks which make it hard at times to concentrate and communicate, but having coping skills has helped me manage these feelings. There are good days and then there are really bad days, as I am sure many people experience but building a support system of people who understand what you are going through and can offer advice is crucial. In addition, I started seeing someone to work through my issues because how I was feeling was impacting my sanity and my work.

I have also gone through the organization K9s On The Front Line, where I worked with trainers to get my dog, Porsche, assessed and officially trained as a service dog so I am more comfortable going out by myself. When my anxiety and panic triggers occur, Porsche knows exactly what to do to help alleviate the symptoms, and has really changed my life.

Why it's important for companies to hire veterans

Hiring a veteran into any organization will bring a tremendous amount of skill, leadership, and integrity among many other benefits. Military veterans no matter their age or rank are trained to be ready to take on additional responsibilities and lead if asked or when necessary. When companies can hire versatile individuals with a drive to handle complicated tasks or unforeseen circumstance, management can rest assured that things will continue to drive forward and the mission will be completed. Each branch of service has some motto in terms of a soldier's integrity. In the Air Force the motto is "Integrity First", which translates to always doing what is right, when no one is watching and it is something that holds strong in many veterans' values. Companies can count on veterans to do the right thing, to always put their best effort forward, and put others before self. Finally, veterans are very goal-oriented; their military experiences have put them in situations where they would need to quickly assess a situation, make a plan and goal, execute that plan and complete an After Action Review to determine how improvements can be made for the next time. To be able to look at a situation and define clear and tangible goals and then execute that plan with focus and discipline are skills that any company would be happy to have on their team as they showcase both the responsibility and accountability that comes with being a veteran.


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