BY: Neighbors’ Consejo|
Veterans, hailed as heroes for their service and sacrifice, often bear the weight of unseen battles long after leaving the battlefield. Behind the brave façade lies a complex reality of mental health challenges that can impact their wellbeing and overall quality of life. From the invisible wounds of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) to the challenges of transitioning back into civilian life, we explore the multifaced aspects of veteran’s mental health.
According to the National Library of Medicine, “as the United States faces two decades of continuous war, media and individuals with personal military connections have elevated public and professional concerns for the mental health of veterans and service members. The most publicized mental health challenges facing veterans service members are PTSD and depression  .”
Rand Corporation  show us some important figures:
- 2.8 million service members have deployed
- 48% experience strains in family life
- 47% feel sudden outburst of anger
- 44% have difficulty adjusting to civilian life
- 5-39% have issues with alcohol dependence
- 19-23% have a traumatic brain injury
- 13-20% experience post-traumatic stress disorder
- 10-15% experience depression
The same source affirms, “veterans returning from combat often experience waves of emotions in response of surviving traumatic events, such as being attacked or seeing others wounded or killed. Some veterans have trouble concentrating, relive traumatic events, or have thoughts of death or suicide. They may also use drugs, drink too much, or have trouble sleeping  .”
The National Alliance on Mental Illness  , considers that “there are three primary mental health concerns that you may encounter serving in the military: Post-traumatic stress disorder; depression and traumatic brain injury.”
In conclusion, it is imperative that we prioritize the mental health of our veterans and provide them with the support they deserve. Their service to our nation should not be overshadowed by the silent battles they face within. By raising awareness, breaking the stigma, and ensuring access to comprehensive mental healthcare, we can make a difference in their lives. Let us honor their sacrifice by standing beside them, offering understanding, compassion, and resources for healing.