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Mental Health with Veterans

Victoria Brown, LPC
Counselor, Insight Clinical Counseling and Wellness, LLC

Happy Veterans Day and Thank You to all of you who have served. Today, we celebrate Veterans on this special day. Let us pause and salute all who have served and honored the tremendous sacrifices made by all US Armed Forces members and their families to preserve our freedom. It’s veterans like you who have made this country great. I am so grateful to be an American.

Today, let us take a moment and talk about the sacrifices that these brave men and women have made. Let us talk about Veterans living meaningful lives outside the wire in our communities and achieving their full potential. Over 200,000 soldiers transition from active duty to military life a year.

Why is it essential for Veterans to take care of their mental health? Twenty-two veterans commit suicide daily in the United States due to unresolved mental health issues. Many veterans suffer from Substance abuse, adjustment disorder, PTSD, depression, and anxiety, which are among the most common. Veterans need to be able to receive effective and confidential mental health services without fear of being shamed, affecting their careers and their families, or having other harmful consequences. Fewer than 50 percent of returning Veterans in need receive any mental health treatment. Veterans face barriers to Mental Health treatment, including stigma, shame, and lack of understanding, as well as logistical barriers such as long wait times, travel distances, and provider assumptions based on demographics.

During their time serving our country, Military personnel can encounter many types of traumatic events. From being faced with combat, exposure to violence, and the death of a comrade. Then, they are thrown back into the civilian world, learning to readjust. To reorient their lives against several domains. Now, they must find a new support system, a job, housing, social support, and more. Switching from a culture of military service to an individualized role can take a toll on someone.

Know some signs that you or your loved one may need behavioral health support. (5)

  • Having “flashbacks,” that is, you suddenly acted or felt as if a stressful experience from the past was happening all over again?
  • Feeling very emotionally upset when something reminds you of a stressful experience?
  • Being “super alert,” on guard, or constantly on the lookout for danger?
  • Feeling jumpy or easily startled when you hear an unexpected noise?
  • Felt a racing heart, sweaty, trouble breathing, faint, or shaky.
  • Felt tense muscles, felt on edge or restless, or had trouble relaxing or trouble sleeping.
  • Needed help to cope with anxiety, not sleeping (e.g., alcohol or medication, superstitious objects, or other people.)
  • Little interest or pleasure in doing things.
  • Feeling tired or having little energy.
  • Feeling bad about yourself—or that you are a failure or have let yourself or your family down.

    Veterans and their families have answered the call to serve and have earned our appreciation. Throughout their service, they have left their families for training and war. They have been isolated in their duties and had long days and nights protecting our freedoms. They have navigated deployments, trauma-related stressors, and geographical moves across the US and the world all because duty called. So now I want to offer our veterans the same thing—a lift, support, and encouragement. At Insight Counseling, we want to navigate this new, unique journey with you and help you live your best life. You are strong, brave, and skilled.

    Resources:

    Spotlight on Mental Health (va.gov)

    https://www.samhsa.gov

    Veteran and Military Mental Health Issues – PubMed (nih.gov)

    Providers Home – Star Behavioral Health Providers (starproviders.org)

    Psychiatry.org – DSM-5-TR Online Assessment Measures

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