By Sarah Ann Banis, LCSW
Veterans and Mental Health Conditions
September is Suicide Prevention Awareness Month, and Veterans are an especially vulnerable group. Nearly 1 in 4 active-duty troops show signs of a mental health condition (NAMI, 2021). The most common are Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), Depression, and Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI). PTSD in veterans can stem from traumatic events they survived or witnessed. Depression can impact one’s way of life. When most people hear the word “depression,” they tend to think “sadness,” but depression is much more than that. Depression can be the loss of interest in things that were once enjoyable. It can be isolation, hopelessness, helplessness, and worthlessness. Depression can impact energy levels, leading to not wanting to get out of bed some days. TBIs can occur from blows to the body and can cause headaches, neurocognitive disorders, and feelings of being tired.
There’s Help for Veterans and their Families
The risk of suicide is often reported to be higher in veterans, and suicide rates have drastically increased. In a study done by Brown University’s Costs of War, it is estimated that 30,177 troops have died by suicide post 9-11. Unfortunately for some, there is a stigma attached to seeking mental health services. September is Suicide Prevention Awareness Month, but the need to normalize these conversations year-round is so important. Military families face so many challenges daily, it can be overwhelming, exhausting, emotionally draining, and hard to manage. Help is just a call away. There are therapists and psychiatrists that are available and want to help. There are many proven treatments for counseling that can help, including Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) and more. Connections Wellness Group can help. Contact us today or find a location near you.
Where to Go for Help in a Crisis
As always, if it is a life-threatening emergency, dial 911 or go to the closest emergency room. Otherwise, here are some resources available to veterans and families: Veteran’s Crisis Line – Phone: 1-800-273-8255 National Veterans Foundation Lifeline for Vets – Phone: 1- 888-777-4443 National Suicide Hotline – 1-800-273- 8255