The number of veterans in the United States is 17,964,242. This brave group of people has gone through considerable trauma, experiencing harrowing ordeals, and risked their lives for the safety of our country.
The enormous debt we owe to our valiant veterans cannot be quantified. Their service, both on and off the battlefield, is unparalleled. The experience of loss, struggle, and bravery leave a lasting impression on the lives of these individuals, long after their service has ended.
The wounds our veterans sustain on the battlefield aren’t just physical, they’re mental and emotional scars they carry with them forever. While research suggests that about 1.7 million veterans received treatment for mental health concerns this past year, there is still a great need to understand their plight so we may be able to help them better.
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
Shell shock is something that individuals experience in life-threatening moments of severe trauma. Combat veterans often find themselves haunted by the memories of the events that they saw on the battlefield. The psychological scars manifest in the form of dreams, flashbacks, psychological distress, negative cognition, self-destructive behavior, and avoidance.
Transitioning out of the military and resuming their daily life poses changes for veterans. It can be tricky to re-assimilate into everyday life and pick up the same routine. Most veterans, thus, struggle with social connectedness and social integration. Re-establishing a sense of belonging is one of the first steps to overcoming the traumas of the past.
No two veterans experience, and process, their past events the same way. This means there’s no right way of dealing with a veteran who is experiencing acute or chronic PTSD.
Suicide and suicidal ideation
One of the most painful outcomes of PTSD experienced by veterans is suicide. A study reported that, every year, more than 6000 veterans end their lives. These alarming statistics are a cause of concern for mental health counselors and psychologists who work tirelessly to help our brave veterans resolve their traumas.
Targeting suicidal thoughts and behaviors is necessary through the techniques employed in counseling. In some cases, depression and suicidal ideation were conjointly experienced. A study reported that almost 49 percent of veterans who experienced PTSD and depression were likely to engage in suicidal ideation.
Understanding the complexity of the experiences of our veterans is imperative for providing effective treatments for their invisible wounds. It’s necessary to create an environment of security, social support, and optimism. As times change, it’s important to evolve and incorporate new dynamics into your practice.
That’s why we believe mental health counselors and psychologists must continue to learn and expand their knowledge so they can provide their clients with the best kind of care. Our online courses and webinars are geared toward crisis prevention, certifications, and clinical supervision so you can learn and polish your skills as you go.
Embark on our training for professional counselors and continue your education throughout your career. Whether you’re a social worker or a peer support specialist, you can benefit from our informative, economical training courses.
Browse our collection of live and recorded webinars. For courses and webinars related to veterans, check out our webinar on Suicide, Parasuicide, Assessment and Prevention, Military Members: Beyond PTSD, and Substance Abuse Among Veterans.