This is probably one of the most important topics to many veterans and there is a huge amount that falls under this category. In the past veterans’ health has mainly cantered around helping wounded soldiers to heal and come to terms with adaptations in their lives.
However, it has become increasingly more relevant that many veterans bear scars that show no physical signs in the form of mental health issues. Suicide among vets is increasing and already among the highest in any group of society.
Strangely enough there seems to be extensive work being done to help the mental health of those that have also suffered physical pain, and in many places has become common practice during the physical rehabilitation process. However, there is a lot of work left to help men and women to cope with some of the things that they have witnessed in places no person would want to find themselves in.
From conversations with veterans that are dealing with mental health issues we have come to understand the shortcomings in the services offered through the VA and associated health programs. Obviously there is the work of public awareness to this subject, but that has already taken decades to get to where it is today.
So how do you help those suffering today? The first thing that needs to happen is that the stigma and barrier to discussing this topic have to be broken down. Veterans and their loved ones have to be able to talk about these matters to start the process of healing.
Many VA locations have started setting up self-help groups where those with mental health issues are able to meet with others in a similar situation and also with those that have found the help they need to function in civilian society again.
The first step for any veteran to take would be to seek out these self-help groups and talk to representatives at a local VA office about getting the access to mental health experts needed. In many cases this may involve working with a psychologist and may not require medication. But those are decisions that health experts should make
If the VA is not able to help out in a timely manner then another option would be seek out help privately. The longer these issues linger, just like with any other physical ailment, the worse they can get.
The message should always be to actively seek help. Any physical injury would be dealt with by professionals and there would be no questioned asked about getting that help. Mental health is even more complex than physical help and wanting to fix it should not be seen as a weakness, but strength.