Military service members and veterans face preeminent risks of mental health problems due to deployment, combat, and return to civilian life. These brave men and women have undergone the stressors of relocation, isolation from family and friends, and in some situations, traumatic combat experiences. Each of these challenges can negatively impact a veteran’s mental health.
According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, there are three primary mental health concerns veterans may experience:
- Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) — Traumatic events, such as military combat, assault, or disasters can have long-lasting negative effects such as trouble sleeping, anger, nightmares, being jumpy, and substance abuse. When these troubles don’t go away, it could be PTSD.
- Depression — More than just experiencing sadness, depression doesn’t mean you are weak nor is it something that you can simply “get over.” Depression interferes with daily life and normal functioning and may require treatment.
- Traumatic brain injury (TBI) — A traumatic brain injury is usually the result of a significant blow to the head or body. Symptoms can include headaches, fatigue or drowsiness, memory problems, mood changes, and mood swings.
It is important to provide support and resources to our veterans to help them as they decipher the impacts of their service.
According to the National Council for Mental Wellbeing, family members and personnel working with military and families are often not aware of how to engage veterans with mental illnesses and addictions. In addition to the impact of military service on veterans, each has a circle of family and friends who are also impacted by their military service.
Readjusting to civilian life can be taxing on one’s mental health after experiencing a variety of other life stressors. There are resources and support groups available for veterans and their family to overcome mental health obstacles.
Valley Oaks Health provides our community with a myriad of resources such as counseling in a variety of formats to suit unique needs. Whether that is individual, family, couple, or group counseling, services are available to pave the way for improving mental well-being.
Valley Oaks also offers 24-hour crisis lines for those in crisis.