May 3 21

Mental Health Awareness: Helping Those Who Help Our Country

Tranelle Maner

People worldwide celebrate the sacrifice of veterans who put their lives on the line to defend the country. However, in the past and through the future, they have been ignored for their mental sacrifice and complex mental and behavioral challenges. Many active duty and previously active veterans have reported dealing with anxiety disorder, depression, PTSD, bipolar disorder, and substance abuse, among other challenges.

The American Psychological Association reports, suicide and suicidal ideation or thoughts of suicide have become an increasing concern for veterans, service members, and their families.

According to a 2014 report by the Department of Defense, there were 1,080 suicide attempts (245 suicides) among active-duty service members for all armed services in 2013. Similarly, a recent study of 52,780 active-duty members of the U.S. Air Force found that 3 percent of male participants and 5.2 percent of female participants reported suicidal ideation in the previous year. Of the participants that reported suicidal ideation, 8.7 percent also reported a recent suicide attempt. 

Veterans from rural communities are at a particular disadvantage as they face challenges such as limited options for assessment and treatment and providers’ lack of awareness of military culture.

For veterans in NorthCarolina, help can be found at the Veterans Life Center. 

The Veterans Life Center is designed to help at-risk 21st Century veterans and prevent them from falling into crisis – chronic homelessness, incarceration, suicide, or premature death. Its mission is to improve the lives of North Carolina veterans by providing temporary housing and services to achieve self-reliance in two years or less.

HTI donated to the Veterans Life Center in 2020, hoping that these veterans will have an easier time finding jobs and other opportunities for housing and easier readjustment by providing laptops to the center. 

To find more resources for veterans in your area, visit maketheconnection.net to view the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Resources by state and zip code.