By Kelli Axley and Unity Psychiatric Care Huntsville
Every year, Americans honor our armed forces on November 11th for Veterans Day. However, many of these individuals continue their fight at home. Not a physical battlefield but the internal mental health battle they face with themselves. According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), each year 11-20% of veterans experience Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), compared to 4% of the general public. Depression, suicide, and traumatic brain injuries, in addition to PTSD, are all primary mental health concerns for veterans. So how can we help these brave men and women who put their life on the line and defended our country?
It’s important for everyone, especially veterans, to know that they are not alone. By simply asking how someone is doing and listening without judgment you can help fight the mental health stigma and open lines of healthy communication. Listen patiently, offer resources, and encouragement when necessary. The US Department of Veterans Affairs (va.gov) has ample resources for military personnel and their families, including healthcare providers, support groups, and caregiver support. You can also reach out to Military One Source (militaryonesource.mil) for confidential counselors at 1-800-342-9647 or the Veterans Crisis Line at 988 (veteranscrisisline.net). As always for any immediate crisis or emergency, dial 911.
In addition to the primary concerns of depression and PTSD, older veterans are vulnerable to the stress and pain related to sleep, memory, and mobility issues. According to the latest census, almost half of all veterans are 65 or older. Many of these older veterans have silently struggled with mental health due to the stigma and lack of resources and support in the past. It’s time to change that.
At Unity Psychiatric Care, we specialize in mental health for older adults, many of which are veterans. Upon arrival to our facility, patients meet with our social services team for a therapeutic assessment and evaluation. Environment plays a major role in our mental health, whether history of combat or abuse, and as a result our multi-disciplinary team ensures each patient has a unique treatment tailored to them. This individualized plan of care continues post discharge for both the patient, but also as a resource for family and caregivers. If you would like to know more about Unity or psychiatric care, we are offering tours to show what we can offer firsthand. For questions or scheduling a tour, email Kelli Axley at firstname.lastname@example.org.
And to our veteran readers, thank you. Thank you for your service and sacrifice for our county. Because of you, we are able to celebrate our freedom, and for that you are our heroes. You fought for us, not let us fight for you. Learn more at Unitypsych.com.