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Author and Retired Lieutenant Colonel Adrian Massey Discusses Poetry and Mental Health

New this year, The Hill School Counseling Center and Students Advocating for Mental Health (SAMH), with support from the Writing Center, have sponsored an initiative to collaborate with teachers on integrating mental health discussions into their classroom curriculum.

On Monday, April 15, 2024, retired Lieutenant Colonel Adrian Massey, the author of A Soldier's Poetic Response: A Slice of his Life, visited with students in Chris Chirieleison’s War Series class and Amy Agnew’s English 5 class to talk about how poetry helped to combat his mental health. Mr. Massey shared with students how poetry became a powerful tool in confronting his confusion, loneliness, and trauma during wartime. He also discussed the challenges of transitioning from a lengthy military career to civilian life and how he examines his experiences as a soldier, grappling with the complexities of duty, friendship, and his place in the world, through his poetry. 

Mr. Massey deployed to Iraq during Operations Iraqi Freedom III and Operation Iraqi Freedom 07-09 as a Company Commander, providing communications for more than 4,000 infantrymen throughout Bagdad. He was awarded the Bronze Star Medal for excellence in Kuwait where he managed the U.S. Army’s Tier 2 communications for all Southwest Asia comprised of 13 countries. Mr. Massey retired in September of 2022 from his last duty station at Arlington National Cemetery as the Chief Network Operations Officer.