Veterans and Mental Health

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Veterans and Mental Health

Many Veterans experience mental health issues related to their military service, such as depression, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), traumatic brain injury and alcohol and drug abuse. These conditions can be serious, interfering with social life and potentially endangering a veteran’s ability to lead an ordinary healthy life.

The United States has a high proportion of service members who experience mental health problems, and the VA is dedicated to helping them. It has established numerous programs that offer assistance and support to veterans and their families, such as Veterans Suicide Prevention Program and Veterans Mental Health Services.

For mental health conditions, there are various treatments available such as psychotherapy (talk therapy) and medication. These may be administered in either a hospital or outpatient setting with the aim of relieving symptoms and improving quality of life.

For years, the VA has been at the forefront of mental health research. It aims to develop and evaluate new treatments for disorders like PTSD or depression, as well as other conditions that may impact Veterans’ mental wellbeing such as schizophrenia or substance use disorders.

Researchers are exploring ways to prevent and reduce mental health conditions by raising awareness, expanding access to care, and improving outcomes for those affected by them. For instance, VA researchers are exploring whether a patient-aligned care team (PACT) can enhance treatment of seriously mentally ill Veterans and reduce unnecessary use of emergency and hospital services.

Another important area of research relates to suicide. A study conducted at the Southeast Louisiana Veterans Health Care System revealed that those with PTSD were more likely to consider suicide than those without it, and these Veterans were also cognitively anxious, which may have played a role in this connection.

Psychological health professionals note a major challenge for veterans: they often feel hesitant to share their stories and lack trust that civilians can understand what they’re going through. Veterans don’t want to be put in a box or treated as less worthy than other members of the community.

Veterans often face negative reactions from civilians who lack the background or education to understand what a veteran experiences, and may worry that their mental health issues will be used against them in the workplace.

This can lead to a cycle of fear and avoidance that makes it difficult for veterans to access assistance. It could also make them feel guilty for asking for assistance or being diagnosed with an illness.

One of the greatest difficulties for veterans living in rural areas is finding effective mental health services. In 2008, President Bush signed the “Veterans Mental Health and Other Care Improvements Act of 2008,” which allows the VA to contract with community-based organizations to offer these services there.

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- Welcome, SoundTherapy.com lowers anxiety 86%, pain 77%, and boosts memory 11-29%. Click on the brain to sign up or share with buttons below to help others: