Mental health is an important part of everyone’s well-being, but it holds particular significance for Veterans who have bravely served their country. Veterans often face unique challenges when it comes to mental health, so a wide range of mental health resources has been developed specifically for Veterans — and the families who love them.
Understanding Veteran Mental Health Resources
Mental health resources go beyond finding a good therapist. They can encompass a wide array of services, programs, and support networks designed to give you all-encompassing, effective mental health assistance. For Veterans, mental health resources take into account the unique experiences and challenges they may have encountered during their time in service.
Mental Health Resources for Veterans
A wide range of mental health resources is available for Veterans that specifically take into account the sacrifices made and challenges faced upon returning to civilian life.
Government, faith-based, and non-profit organizations alike have Veteran mental health resources available. Some options they offer include:
- Counseling services
- Peer support groups
- Educational programs
These programs also help raise awareness to reduce the stigma of mental health issues.
VA Mental Health Resources
Different types of treatment and resources offered by the VA are designed to meet the unique needs of a Vet.
Overview of VA Mental Health Services
The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) is a great first option in addressing the mental health needs of Veterans. They provide a comprehensive range of mental health services that are easily accessible nationwide.
What can you expect from VA mental health resources?
- Individual and group counseling
- Evidence-based therapies
- Medication management
- Rehabilitation programs
Types of VA Mental Health Resources
Counseling Services: Individual therapy, group counseling, and family counseling provide Veterans (and, sometimes, their families) a safe space to express what they’re going through.
Therapy Options: These therapies have a proven track record of helping Veterans manage and overcome their mental health challenges, including PTSD:
- Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT)
- Eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR)
- Prolonged exposure therapy (PE)
Medication Management: The VA offers comprehensive medication management services, including personalized medication plans and monitoring.
No matter which type of help you need or prefer, the VA prioritizes confidentiality and privacy to ensure you can comfortably share your experiences and receive the care you deserve.
Finding Veteran Mental Health Resources Near You
There are several ways you can start your search for appropriate mental health services in your area. One effective approach is to inquire about nearby support groups and counseling services at your local VA facility or community center. Online directories and resources provided by the VA can assist Veterans in finding mental health resources in specific locations.
Utilizing Online Veteran Mental Health Resources
Technology has expanded the landscape of mental health resources available to Veterans. Online resources can be particularly beneficial for Veterans seeking mental health support due to their accessibility, anonymity, and convenience.
Numerous websites, apps, and online communities specifically cater to the mental health needs of Veterans. These platforms provide a wealth of resources for you and your family. You’ll find coping strategies, information about mental health conditions, and connect with others who have had similar experiences.
When utilizing online Veteran mental health resources, it is important to prioritize reputable sources. Check VA-sponsored websites, search for well-established mental health organizations (such as the National Alliance on Mental Illness, or NAMI), or government resources as reliable options.
How to Get Help
Seeking help for your mental health concerns — or the mental help of your Veteran loved one — is a courageous step toward recovery and well-being. If you are a Veteran in need of mental health support, follow these steps. Remember that you are not alone and deserve to feel better.
Reach Out to VA Facilities
As we’ve said, VA medical centers and clinics aren’t only for your physical needs. Contact your nearest VA facility to schedule an appointment with a mental health professional.
Contact Mental Health Professionals
In addition to the VA, numerous private mental health professionals specialize in working with Veterans. Consider reaching out to psychologists, therapists, and counselors in your area who have experience in Veteran mental health.
Seek Support from Loved Ones
The support of family members, friends, and loved ones can go a long way in helping you feel less alone. They love you and want to be there for you. Sharing your concerns with trusted individuals can provide emotional support and understanding throughout your mental health journey.
Addressing PTSD and Suicidal Thoughts
Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a common mental health condition among Veterans and can contribute to the development of suicidal thoughts. Understanding the connection between PTSD and suicidal thoughts is one of the best first steps you can take for yourself. If you or someone you know is struggling, reach out for help as soon as possible.
Some Signs of PTSD Include (But Are Not Limited to):
- Feeling upset by things that remind you of what happened
- Having nightmares, vivid memories, or flashbacks of the event that make you feel like it’s happening all over again
- Feeling emotionally cut off from others
- Feeling numb or losing interest in things you used to care about
- Feeling constantly on guard
- Feeling irritated or having angry outbursts
- Having difficulty sleeping
- Having trouble concentrating
- Being jumpy or easily startled
The VA’s AboutFace PTSD page contains essential information for those suffering from PTSD, including answers to common questions, stories from Veterans like you who’ve sought help, and treatment options and guides.
Some Signs of Suicidal Ideation Include (But Are Not Limited to):
- Helplessness — feeling like there is nothing you can do to make things better
- Hopelessness — thinking that your problem cannot be solved by you or anyone else
- Feeling worthless — thinking that you’re unable to help yourself, or feeling like a failure
- Feeling or acting hateful toward yourself
- Feeling like you are a burden to others
- Feeling as if the pain of living is too much to bear
To reach the Veterans Crisis Line, dial 988, then press 1. You can also use the online chat service or text 838255. The Veterans Crisis Line provides free, confidential support 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year.
AAFMAA Is Here to Help
AAFMAA is proud to provide services that give military members past and present the support they deserve. Though we do not offer mental health counseling, our services and benefits can help provide peace of mind. Reach out to AAFMAA today to learn how we can help you live your best military life.