The amount of veterans who receive the proper care they need is heartbreakingly low. According to the International Epidemiological Association, about 60% of military personnel dealing with mental health complications do not seek professional treatment. When combined with the fact that military suicide rates are higher than the civilian population, breaking the stigma around mental health care is vital.
Struggles Veterans Face
Many veterans experience mental health complications during active duty and often return home with the same symptoms. Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), depression, and anxiety are just some of the long-term mental health disorders a veteran can experience. Veterans are exposed to things that most of the general public never sees in their lifetime.
Being in or witnessing comrades in life-threatening scenarios, having difficulty when returning to civilian life, and feeling disconnected from friends and family are just some of the things that can contribute to the development of mental health disorders in veterans. The commonality of mental disorders is also dependent on which conflict a veteran was involved in. Not all veterans come home with a mental health complication, but many go untreated.
There is a multitude of factors that affect why and how veterans have resistance when it comes to utilizing the healthcare resources they need. Some veterans may feel they will be treated differently once expressing their concerns, even viewed as weak by peers. This can create fear in their military careers and even denial. Other veterans may not even know they are having this issue and are told to continue to push on despite worsening the condition.
The Stigma Surrounding Veteran Mental Health Care
Much of the military experience includes training that emphasizes building yourself up to endure stressful situations. Because of this, it has inadvertently created a culture of “sucking it up.” It is easy to understand how asking for mental help goes against basic military training. While it might be necessary to adopt that mentality during service, it is not beneficial to continue to push through or ignore the issues when dealing with mental health.
It can be frightening to admit to yourself and others, but it is not weak to need mental support. In fact, the realization that you may need to speak with someone is an extremely brave thing to come to terms with and even braver to act on.
Lack of Information on Veterans Resources
Another factor when it comes to the statistics on mental support for veterans is that many veterans are not even aware they need or are eligible to receive help. Regardless of military involvement, it can be easier at the moment to deny that you have any mental health complications at all. However, leaving mental health disorders untreated can contribute to their worsening in the future. It is important to not only spend time self-reflecting after traumatic events but to reach out for help as soon as possible.
Other veterans may not know where to receive care or feel it is not worth their time or money. It is always worth seeking care; your mental health is priceless. There are many resources available for veterans, from non-profits to the local veteran‘s affairs departments. Many insurance companies also cover a portion of private therapy sessions.
Veterans and Familial Support
Many veterans are already reluctant or in denial about the mental health complications they may face. This is only made worse when they are not given familial support to receive help. Providing a non-judgemental space for the veteran in your life to express their mental health concerns can make seeking help an easier process.
Some veterans may feel like they cannot take the time to work on their mental health due to their commitment to their families and children. It is more detrimental to continue than it is to build up mental resilience. If you believe the veteran in your life will benefit from mental health care, do not hesitate to speak with a professional.
Poor Quality of Care
Some veterans that have sought mental health care may not have found what they were looking for. Maybe they did not feel heard or were simply waiting for too long. Often the process just to see a mental health professional can be a time-consuming one. Combined with an already reluctant attitude, waiting weeks or even months to meet with a provider can be a huge deterrent.
Perception of therapy, accessibility to a quality health care professional, and willingness to receive help all play a role in veteran mental health care. By breaking the stigma surrounding mental health and providing veterans with high-quality care, we can ensure that the people who serve and protect our country feel served and protected when they return.
Serving this country often comes with some sacrifices. However, your mental health is one thing that you should never have to give up in return. Working with an experienced professional that is well-versed in veteran trauma can significantly improve your quality of life. Whether it’s been days, months, or even years, it is never too late to receive life-changing help. At Destiny Recovery Center, we specialize in highly personalized treatment methods and empathetic staff to get you ready for everything life has to offer. If you or someone you love is a veteran experiencing mental health issues, get in touch with us today at (909) 413-4304 to learn more about what Destiny Recovery Center can do for you.