Support Your Veterans

Veterans Day - Support Your Veterans

On this Veterans Day and each one that comes before and after, we take a moment to remember what our veterans have sacrificed for us over the years. They are some of the bravest people to walk among us, and they deserve a lifetime of support. Our bravest soldiers often bear scars that silently haunt them in the years that follow.

Unfortunately, many veterans live through some of the most horrific experiences this life has to offer. These experiences leave scars that can and often do last a lifetime. Readjusting to life after war and tragedy brings on a whole new set of challenges. Veterans face some of the worst discrimination by employers, strangers, and even in personal relationships.

Life after military experience can be an uphill mental battle. In honor of our veterans, we express our gratitude and remind them that they are not alone. We may not live their trauma, but we understand the mental struggle. These are some of the most common mental health battles among veterans.

Support Your Veterans

If you are the loved one of a veteran, you play an important role and a special one. It takes a strong and committed person to live through the experience of life in the military, even as a loved one. Depending on your relationship to your vet, there are multiple ways to show your support.

The military is its own way of life. The demand of this life requires a special kind of strength, and life afterwards can be a jarring experience. Having a healthy, stable support system is crucial for veterans. Below are just some of the ways you can provide support to your veteran when they are struggling.

Time and Patience

Whether you have a veteran at home or come in to contact with one who is struggling, they deserve empathy and care. Veterans witness things that most regular civilians never will. It can be extremely difficult to truly understand the mental battles that a veteran struggles with.

They may not be the same person you once knew, and it’s your job to recognize why. The pressure to return to normalcy can make matters worse. It’s important to understand that the time it takes to heal from severe trauma cannot be numbered. Giving a veteran the time and patience to readjust and find healing in their own time is one of the best ways to show your support.

Learn the Warning Signs

Opening up about mental health struggles is a challenge for so many people. For veterans, there is an extra layer of pressure to push emotions below the surface. The resilience and toughness of a military background can make vulnerability feel like weakness or failure.

Even with all of the resources available to veterans, they struggle to seek help on their own. As their support system, it’s important to recognize the signs that they are struggling. Learning more about the specific struggles’ veterans face, like PTSD and substance abuse, you can develop the skills to help them in a crisis.

You don’t have to go at it alone. The US Department of Veteran Affairs and The National Veterans Foundation are both great places to find resources for veterans in need.

Here are just a few of the common signs that a veteran may need your help.

Take Care of Yourself

There is a reason that so many veterans are alone and struggle with relationships. Post combat and military can be an isolating experience for many soldiers. It’s often difficult to reconnect, and relationships become tense and strained.

If you have struggled with your relationship to your veteran loved one, you’re not alone. The demands of post-military life are hard on everyone involved. Divorce rates are higher in veteran relationships. Resentment and anger often build up and healthy communication becomes difficult to accomplish.

Your mental health is just as important as your loved ones. It’s important not to dismiss the struggles that you face in a situation like this one. Talking to a therapist and prioritizing your own care is as much for you as it is for your veteran. A therapist can help you navigate the unique struggles you may encounter as someone who is a support system for a veteran.

Get Support

No one should have to suffer in silence. Veterans and loved ones both deserve support for their mental health. Living with a veteran can be stressful. Therapy provides a safe space to heal from the scars that veterans carry. CBT is a proven method of therapy when it comes to mental health and addiction recovery for veterans.

Here at Dr. Messina and Associates, our compassionate team of professionals are qualified to help you at our Flower Mound, Texas, and Southlake, Texas, offices. Our Psychologists, Psychiatrists, and Counselors specialize in cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), psychological testing, and medication management for a variety of emotional and behavioral health needs. All services are available in-person and online (telehealth). If you or a loved one are seeking help with mental health, we are here to help.

Author
Dr. Michael Messina

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