Sunday, November 11, 2012

Veterans Day 2012: Mental Health Help

Many people thank veterans for their service this Veterans Day/Remembrance Day.  The feeling builds up the confidence of those who served and lets them know their time was not all in vain.  Then the sun sets, night sets in, and tomorrow happens.  People think veterans magically then fully integrate into the general population (except for the rare "looney" who begs on the street corner), build a successful careers, have happy families, and maybe even become successful in politics.

So many veterans know that these two stereotypes, the super-success and the beggar, leave out the vast majority of veterans.  So many veterans have issues adjusting and just need someone to talk to, a little advice, or maybe a pat on the back.  The civilian world's different values, cheating wife/husband, lack of a clear-cut mission, and many more issues wear veterans down.  Many civilians do not see or understand this.  For example, a friend told me that his deployment was the best time of his life.  While civilian friend thought that was great to hear I realized the veteran was telling me his life has been all downhill since returning home.

Fortunately, veterans are not alone.  Help in all shapes and varieties, not just suicide prevention, is available online and over the phone.

American veterans can contact the Veterans Crisis Line.  The British Ministry of Defence has Mental Health Support and Contact Details.  Canadian veterans can reach out to VAC Assistance Service.  Australian veterans have access to the At Ease mental health program as well as VVCS - Veterans and Veterans Families Counselling Service.  A internet search for New Zealand veterans revealed the insulting bare-bones information of "contact case management" for mental health support.

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