Do you have a veteran in your life?
Veterans have made a lot of great sacrifices in order to fight for the freedoms that we enjoy. If you know a veteran, you’re probably already aware of this and want them to be able to have the best treatment possible, both from society and from any mental illness they may have suffered throughout their time in the service.
Veterans with mental illness often face unique challenges. While many people will undergo some type of mental illness in their lives, not everyone has the unique experience of being a person in the military.
But how do you help veterans with mental illness? Keep reading to learn more.
About Veterans with Mental Illness
The first thing you should know about veterans with mental illness is that everyone experiences their challenges differently. Even people deployed to the same regions might have different mental illnesses.
They should be treated by a qualified professional, who will be able to assess them on an individual basis. Then, they will be able to give them tailored, personalized treatment that will be able to help them cope.
Yet, there are some commonalities in challenges veterans face. In fact, veterans mental health statistics indicate that 30% of military personnel deployed to Iraq or Afghnistan have mental health conditions for which they required treatment. Yet, less than half of those people seek professional help for their conditions.
If left untreated, these veterans mental health conditions can result
Some of the conditions veterans commonly experience include:
- Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
- Bipolar disorder
- Substance Abuse
Ways to Help
Do you want to know ways to help veterans who suffer from these conditions?
While mental health professionals can help many veterans, you don’t have to be a mental health professional in order to help. In fact, many veterans also experience homelessness and have trouble holding down a job. This makes it more important for the community to create a supportive environment for the veterans around them.
So, let’s go through some ways to help veterans with mental illnesses, including:
- Reaching out
- Volunteering your time
- Using your skills
- Paying for mental health visits
Do you want to let the veterans in your community know you are ready and willing to help them?
If you know some veterans personally, arrange a time to meet with them or otherwise reach out. Throughout the course of your conversation, let them know you are willing to help them in whatever way needed.
Make sure you don’t press for details that they aren’t willing to give. Simply let them know you are willing to help them however you can. If they offer information, listen to them with empathy and sympathy.
For many people, having someone with whom to talk makes a huge difference. If they don’t have the means to go to a therapist, people suffering from veterans PTSD and veterans depression may find it helpful to have a trusted friend.
Volunteering Your Time
If you want to get further involved, consider volunteering your time with a local organization that helps veterans. Many cities across the United States have non-profits that focus on serving the veterans in their community.
This gives you the perfect opportunity to learn more about the challenges veterans face in your area while using your time for good.
Often, these non-profits key services to veterans in need. This includes counseling services and help for homeless veterans.
Using Your Skills
Many people have skills that help veterans suffering from mental illness. Even if you don’t think you do, you might discover you have needed talents that you haven’t thought of using to help veterans.
For instance, people who are counselors often offer their time to veterans, either at a discounted price or for free. Professional lawyers might choose to represent veterans in court and fight for their rights.
If you’re a cook, you can host dinners for veterans, either in your home or alongside a non-profit organization. Social workers can also offer their services to veterans.
Think about all of the skills you have. Whether you use them professionally or not, there’s a chance they will benefit the veterans in your community.
Offering your services also establishes you as a safe space for veterans and demonstrates that someone in their community cares enough to help them.
Paying for Mental Health Visits
Veterans have undergone stressful and life-threatening situations that negatively impact their mental health. Yet, many veterans suffer from homelessness and difficulty keeping a job.
This results in many living in poverty.
While some people offer mental health services specifically to veterans, counseling services can be expensive. The veterans may not have the resources to get the treatment they need.
This is where you have an opportunity to help. Review your finances and see if you have the means to help a veteran or two receive treatment for mental health conditions. If you do, either contact veterans you know or call your local veterans’ non-profit and offer to pay for treatment.
If anyone you know is in immediate danger of taking their own life, call either a suicide helpline or 911. Suicide helpline agents are trained to tell you what to do. Emergency responders will perform a wellness check on the person and help prevent them from taking their own life.
Does Someone You Know Need Help?
Many veterans come home from the battlefield with mental illnesses. They struggle with depression, schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, substance abuse, and PTSD.
Often, these people require the support of their local communities in order to navigate their lives. You can help veterans with mental illness by reaching out, volunteering your time, using your skills, and paying for mental health visits.
If you know a veteran who needs treatment for their mental conditions, encourage them to give us a call. We specialize in helping those who have served our country navigate their lives after being deployed. Book an appointment with us today!