Consider this fact: 20 veterans die from suicide every single day.
By the end of 2018, more than 2 million troops have been deployed to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Of that 2 million, the RAND Center for Military Policy Research estimates that 20% of veterans suffer from either major depression or post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). When you dig even deeper, 19.5% of veterans with depression or PTSD suffer from a traumatic brain injury of some kind.
Veterans and Mental Health
Military mental health is often seen as a forgettable disease, as many people don’t realize what terrors our veterans face every single day.
Military mental health is often seen as a forgettable disease, as many people don’t realize what terrors our veterans face every single day. But according to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, 50% veterans that are in the need of the most help, don’t seek treatment. There are plenty of factors as to why veterans don’t seek treatment, such as:
- A lack of understanding of mental illnesses and their symptoms
- Long wait times to seek treatment
- The stigma associated with suffering from mental illnesses
- Fear of being seen as weak
- Problems traveling and/or having access to treatment facilities
- Concerns over the quality of mental health treatment provided by the VA
Veterans and PTSD
One of the most common mental illnesses seen in veterans is PTSD. Post-traumatic stress disorder develops after a person experiences a disturbing event, and is experienced by veterans who went through the stressors of combat, natural disasters, sexual assault, or even witnessing the traumatic violence against someone else. Common PTSD symptoms include:
- Problems with anger management
- Lack of impulse control
- Insomnia or other sleep disorders
- Violent memory flashbacks.
Unfortunately, due to the stressors involved with serving in the military, PTSD is common and its symptoms can persist for many years untreated.
Afganistan and Iraq War Veterans
Studies have shown that Afghanistan and Iraq War veterans are suffering from PTSD and mental illness more than any other combat veterans that came before them. The reason for this is unknown; some believe this could be due to the type of warfare, how common it is for veterans to be deployed more than once, and combined with the fact that some veterans feel there isn’t a clearly defined mission in place. This makes it harder for veterans to assimilate into their communities and feel as if they can seek proper medical treatment.
The first step of bringing awareness to military mental health is to recognize that it happens more than we think. So if you have a friend or family member that is a veteran, reach out today and see how they’re doing. Everyone fights battles, and these heroes deserve some much-needed peace.
Matt Hill focuses his practice on representing the disabled veterans for Hill and Ponton Disability Attorneys. He is a member of the Florida Bar and the Washington D.C. Bar. He represents veterans and their dependents across the nation. In addition to representing the disabled, Mr. Hill is a recognized authority on VA law. He has authored several books on VA service-connected benefits. Mr. Hill gives presentations across the nation on VA disability compensation. He is the treasurer for the board of directors of the National Organization of Veterans Advocates (NOVA).