The life of a military veteran is often very different from those who have not chosen to serve in the armed forces. Being deployed, whether in a theater of war or simply in another location, far away from friends, family or significant others, can take its toll. While it was more common in the past to experience certain stigmas related to mental health, and undoubtedly many who were suffering from particular issues such as PTSD may have been ridiculed at times, the reality is that it is normal and okay to admit that you have a mental health issue. The days of suffering in silence have been ending, and a new focus on improving the mental health of military veterans has continued to grow.
This becomes even more real when we look at the statistics involving suicides for military veterans. Military vets make up around 20 percent of the suicides nationwide; the numbers fall around 22 veterans who commit suicide every day. You may have been aware of the push-up challenge that was circling throughout social media – its purpose was to bring awareness to the number of military veterans who are dying every day through suicide, and performing 22 push-ups in a video, where one would tag their friends or family members in order to continue spreading the message. We are at a critical point where the entire nation is now aware of the problems facing men and women in the military.
At this point, we are starkly aware of the realities facing military veterans; so when men and women eventually return home from active duty, from either being involved in a military campaign, serving abroad or retiring from service, many are suffering from mental health issues. Here are some of the more common issues that returning veterans tend to experience:
Clinical depression is far more serious than the natural depression we can experience for short periods of time. This type of depression usually lasts at least two weeks or longer in duration, and can greatly affect one’s ability to function well on a daily basis. Symptoms may involve the inability to sleep, or sleeping too much, eating too much or too little food and experience an overall sadness. The rate that veterans experience depression has been found to be five times higher than that of civilians. It is not something that your friend or family member can tell you to just buckle up and get over; on the contrary, it requires an investment of mental health therapy in order to get to the root of the problems.
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder:
You may often hear of military members suffering from PTSD, and may even visualize it as happening to men and women who have experienced battle firsthand. While this is absolutely a major factor in the symptoms of PTSD appearing, it can also happen to veterans who have experienced other traumatic things in their military career, from a sudden deployment to other situations such as sexual abuse. Some of the symptoms show up as unbridled anger, trouble sleeping, or abusing drugs or alcohol.
Suicide is unfortunately the biggest contributor to military veteran deaths. The rate of suicide is significantly higher than the rate of civilian’s. Military deaths have largely been from suicide, as opposed to actual combat; it is a serious issue that requires a significant amount of attention. Military veterans need to have a host of resources available at their disposal in order to help eradicate the rising suicide rate.
Mental health issues greatly affect military veterans at a much higher rate than civilians; if you are suffering from a mental health issue, or know a military veteran who needs help, contact SBC Raleigh today for a free and confidential mental health evaluation. Call us today at 855-537-2262.