Supporting Our Heroes: Understanding Veterans' Mental Health

Navigating the transition from military to civilian life presents unique challenges for veterans, especially in the realm of mental health. The invisible scars of deployment can affect veterans' well-being long after their service has ended. Unfortunately, a significant number of veterans encounter difficulties in accessing the mental health care they need. Compounding this issue, many feel isolated in their struggles and hindered by the belief that seeking help signifies weakness. These barriers to care, coupled with systemic obstacles, leave many veterans to navigate their mental health journey without the support they desperately need.

A Mental Health Crisis Among Veterans

The mental health crisis among veterans is both alarming and widespread. A 2020 report from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration highlighted that over 5 million veterans were battling mental health issues, underscoring a dire need for effective support and intervention. The statistics are sobering:

These facts beg the question: if so many veterans need mental health care, why do so few of them get it?

Factors Compounding Veteran Mental Health

Veterans are more susceptible to mental health conditions than the general population due to the unique conditions and stressors of military life. Aside from the PTSD caused by the trauma of combat, the transition from military to civilian life is a major one. Most veterans entered the military in early adulthood. When they return to civilian life, they are leaving the only adult life they have ever known; one characterized by a strict schedule, a tight-knit community, and a strong shared purpose. Many veterans feel disconnected, misunderstood, and without a sense of purpose upon leaving the military. They may struggle with family life, civilian employment, anger management, and reintegration into civilian society. This abrupt transition, paired with PTSD and possible physical injuries, leaves them particularly vulnerable to mental health conditions.

Challenges in Accessing Mental Health Care for Veterans

Despite the Veterans Health Administration's efforts to cater to veterans' mental health needs through various programs, a significant gap remains in the timely treatment of mental health conditions. Some of the obstacles preventing veterans from seeking and receiving mental health care include:

The Consequences of Failing to Address Veteran Mental Health

The impact of untreated mental health issues among veterans extends far beyond the individuals themselves, deeply affecting their families and communities. The RAND Center's findings indicate that conditions like depression, PTSD, and traumatic brain injuries are often accompanied by a range of detrimental behaviors and health outcomes, including an increased likelihood of engaging in harmful behaviors, a higher prevalence of physical health issues, and a significantly elevated risk of suicide. Research conducted by the Costs of War project at Brown University in 2021 revealed a harrowing statistic: more than 30,000 active-duty personnel and veterans of the post 9/11 wars had died by suicide, a figure four times greater than the number lost in combat within the same time period. This grim reality underscores the urgent need for comprehensive mental health interventions for our veterans.

Supporting Veterans' Mental Health

Supporting the veterans in your life involves a blend of understanding their unique experiences, recognizing signs of distress, and knowing how to connect them with the right resources:

By taking these steps, you contribute to a supportive environment that reduces the stigma around seeking support and supports veterans' journeys towards well-being in civilian life.

Therapy for Veterans at Medens Health

Our veterans have made immeasurable sacrifices in serving our nation, and it is our duty to ensure that they receive the comprehensive support and care they deserve in return. With an informed approach and dedicated resources, we can begin to address the mental health crisis facing our veterans. At Medens Health, our talented team includes mental health professionals who are trained in the unique needs of veterans and have extensive experience treating them. If you or a veteran you know is struggling, reach out to us for compassionate, informed care to help navigate mental health concerns and acclimate to civilian life.

For mental health care for veterans, call/text Medens Health at (833) 624-5400, contact us online, or get started here.


The information provided in this blog is for educational and informational purposes only and is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Reliance on any information provided in this blog is solely at your own risk. Always seek the advice of your physician or a qualified mental health provider with any questions you may have regarding your medical or mental health. If you don’t currently have a therapist, we can connect you with one who is qualified to give you safe, professional, and ethical advice regarding your mental health.

If you or someone you are responsible for is experiencing a medical emergency, is considering harming themselves or others, or is otherwise in imminent danger, you should call 9-1-1 and/or take them to the nearest emergency room.