The individuals who serve our country risk so much in the pursuit of justice and freedom. They sacrifice time with their families, push their bodies’ physical limits, and may even put their lives on the line. For millions of veterans across the country, the constant strain and pressure of military life often comes at a cost. The current state of veteran mental health proves that the country needs a better approach to behavioral health care for veterans and their families.
Join us today in an honest discussion about veteran mental health and how it affects so many people. We at Heroes’ Mile wish to share our unique handling of mental health services for veterans to show that recovery is always possible. With access to the proper tools and support, veterans can overcome their mental health challenges and return to daily living.
Veteran Mental Health Conditions
When people consider veteran mental health, their first thought may be of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and for fair reason. According to the Department of Veterans’ Affairs, veteran PTSD rates can range anywhere from 10 percent to over 30 percent.
The exact numbers depend largely on when someone’s deployment took place. Consider the following statistics:
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- Iraq and Afghanistan: Almost 14 percent of returning Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom service members have PTSD.
- The Gulf War: Roughly 12 percent of veterans who served during the Gulf War or Desert Storm developed PTSD.
- The Vietnam War: An estimated 29 percent of Vietnam veterans have had PTSD.
On average, PTSD affects more than one in 10 veterans. This means that, of the 19 million veterans in America, over two million have PTSD.
However, PTSD is far from the only obstacle that may harm veterans’ mental health. In reality, they may develop an assortment of mental health conditions due to the unique challenges they face.
Some of the most common veteran mental health issues include:
- Major depression
- Anxiety disorders
- Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
- Substance use disorder
- Bipolar disorder
- Suicidal ideations
Unfortunately, none of these conditions are mutually exclusive. Veterans often battle mental health issues on multiple fronts. For example, someone may live with anxiety and depression, PTSD and addiction, or any other combination of mental health problems.
Veteran mental health care often requires a multifaceted approach to deal with all sources of a veteran’s pain. When it comes to substance use disorders, the simultaneous presence of another mental health condition is referred to as dual diagnosis (or co-occurring disorders).
Co-occurring disorders are particularly dangerous due to how they tend to interact with one another. Left untreated, symptoms of addiction and other mental illnesses often feed into each other, thus worsening both conditions.
For instance, someone may drink alcohol to cope with their PTSD. If their addiction is treated but their PTSD is not addressed, they may return to drinking the next time their PTSD symptoms overwhelm them.
For these reasons, Heroes’ Mile specializes in the treatment of co-occurring disorders. We understand that effective veteran mental health care should not overlook the prevalence of dual diagnosis.
Increased Risk of Mental Illness in Veterans
There is no denying that veterans face mental health issues at a higher rate than their civilian counterparts. The exact reasons for this vary, but should also come as no surprise, given the nature of military life.
Veterans must confront numerous potential sources of long-term trauma. A small sample of what they may face includes:
- Combat exposure
- Traumatic brain injury (TBI)
- Military sexual assault (MST)
- Grief and loss
- Training accidents
While anyone can experience traumatic events like sexual assault, unexpected loss, and TBI, veterans often find themselves in positions where they are at a higher risk of encountering them. Veteran mental health services should keep these factors in mind when attempting to care for service members.
Mental Health Services for Veterans
Veteran mental health care comes in a variety of forms. Some treatment programs offer high-intensity assistance for individuals in need of the most support. Others are somewhat less involved, which benefits veterans with milder conditions.
The highest level of veteran mental health care exists through residential rehabilitation, otherwise known as inpatient treatment. Residential patients live on-site throughout treatment, which allows them to fully immerse themselves in recovery.
Veterans who choose inpatient treatment spend every day confronting their struggles and developing vital coping skills. Some of these skills help in the short-term, but we pride ourselves on equipping veterans with tools they can use for the rest of their lives.
We care about more than just providing patchwork solutions to improve veteran mental health. We want each and every individual who comes into our care to be able to return to an enriching life that allows them to experience life to the fullest. For many veterans, our residential rehab program is the first step to achieving that goal.
For a less intensive experience, someone may opt for an intensive outpatient program (IOP). Instead of staying at the treatment facility full-time, IOP patients visit for several hours each week. This gives them ample time to participate in therapeutic activities and hone the same coping skills as their inpatient counterparts.
Most individuals who participate in an IOP do so for one of two reasons: Either their conditions are less severe and they don’t need as much support as residential patients, or they already completed inpatient treatment and need additional help as they transition back to daily living.
When considering the state of veteran mental health, many people fail to recognize the challenges of returning to civilian life. IOPs ease this transitional period by providing security and structure, while still giving veterans the opportunity to re-engage with their communities at their own pace.
Veteran Mental Health Treatment Options
Regardless of whether someone elects for inpatient or outpatient treatment, they should have access to the same quality of therapeutic activities while attending sessions. Heroes’ Mile employs a variety of multidisciplinary treatment modalities painstakingly designed for veteran mental health care.
Thus, all our patients can expect to spend their time on-site engaging in effective, evidence-based treatment options like:
- Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT)
- Eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR) therapy
- Group therapy
- 12-step programs
- Traumatic incident reduction (TIR) therapy
- Family therapy
Every tool utilized at Heroes’ Mile has proven to be beneficial to veteran mental health. By seeking treatment with us, veterans guarantee they will receive world-class care and maximize their recovery potential.
Veterans Helping Veterans
If you are a veteran in need of mental health treatment, consider Heroes’ Mile, the rehab center made for veterans by veterans. We provide behavioral health care for veterans with co-occurring substance abuse and mental health problems.
Our veteran exclusivity makes us one of the best options for supplying service members and their families with crucial mental health resources. We understand the many unique challenges veterans face in a way that civilian treatment centers cannot.
At Heroes’ Mile, every patient is surrounded by peers and staff members who have lived through many of the same battles. The bonds forged through mutual understanding and respect are strong enough to last a lifetime. They can serve as pillars of support as you continue down the path of recovery.
Furthermore, by focusing on veteran mental health care, we provide support and stability for a demographic that, all too often, goes overlooked. Veterans in our care know they are our top and only priority. All of our treatment plans have been cultivated specifically to help veterans, service members, and their loved ones.
Contact Us Today
When you’re ready to start healing, or if you have any additional questions about veteran mental health, please give us a call. You can reach our admissions team at 888-838-6692 or by submitting a confidential contact form online. Above all, remember that it is never too late to get help. At Heroes’ Mile, you can overcome any obstacle.