Posted on May 12 2021
Bringing Awareness to Mental Health Concerns for Veterans
May is Mental Health Awareness Month! Here at Brave American, we want to acknowledge the fact that millions of people around the globe face the reality of living with a mental illness. Each year, we strive to fight the stigma, provide support, educate the public, and advocate for policies that support those who battle mental illness. Many of these mental conditions go undiagnosed, so it’s imperative that you pay close attention to yourself and the ones you love.
Mental health conditions are relatively common in the U.S. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, nearly one in five U.S. adults live with a mental illness. Equally important, more than 1.7 million veterans received treatment in a U.S. Veteran Affairs mental health specialty program back in 2018. In addition, research shows that approximately 22 veterans die by suicide every day. That’s why we created a 'Veteran Suicide Awareness Tee' with hopes of bringing awareness to those who do not know the staggering statistic.
It’s important to note that less than 50 percent of returning veterans in need receive any mental health treatment. We at Brave American believe that we must do everything we can to play a part in changing these statistics. Continue reading to learn more about some common mental health conditions that veterans tend to deal with the most:
When conducting research on mental health conditions and treatments for veterans, experts found that two of the most prevalent disorders that veterans manage are depression and bipolar. Depression tends to occur after traumatic events, and is characterized by a low mood that lasts for multiple days. This condition can disrupt everyday activities such as sleep, appetite, and socialization. Symptoms of depression include feeling down consistently, lack of interest to do things you once enjoyed, changes in sleeping and eating habits, inability to focus, feeling hopeless, and thoughts of self-harm.
Bipolar disorder, also known as manic depression, is a mental illness that brings severe high and low moods with changes in sleep, energy, thinking, and behavior. Veterans who have bipolar disorder can have periods in which they feel overly happy and energized, and other periods of feeling very sad, hopeless, and sluggish.
Veterans also can suffer from anxiety disorders such as Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). This condition is usually triggered by experiences like military combat, disasters, assault and sexual assault. Often, a person experiencing PTSD will relive the traumatic event in thoughts or dreams, and will take precautions to avoid situations that trigger memories of the event. With that being said, this disorder can prevent veterans from leading a productive life. It also makes the transition into civilian life more challenging.
Whether you are a veteran or someone close to you is, it’s crucial that we take the necessary steps to find treatment and rehabilitation programs to get people who need help back on track. Mental health services are available through many organizations such as U.S. Veteran Affairs, National Center for PTSD, National Alliance on Mental Illness, Each Mind Matters, and more.