According to a 2014 study, nearly 1 in 4 active duty members showed signs of a mental health condition. Those returning with devastating injuries face living with both physical and psychological pain. Tragically, since the beginning of the invasion of Afghanistan, more service members have died as a result of suicide than combat. A diagnosis of mental illness results in immediate separation or discharge from active duty, which may explain why only half of all service personnel affected by the symptoms of mental illness seek treatment.
Help In a Crisis
If you a veteran having thoughts of suicide, the Veterans Crisis Line is available 24/7 by dialing 1-800-273-8255 and pressing 1.
Mental Health Concerns For Military Service Members and Veterans
There are three primary mental health concerns encountered by those serving in the military.
- Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Traumatic events, such as military combat, assault, disasters or sexual assault can have long-lasting negative effects such as trouble sleeping, anger, nightmares, being jumpy and alcohol and drug abuse. When these troubles don’t go away, it could be PTSD. The rate of PTSD may be up to 15 times higher in active duty service members compared to civilians.
- Depression. More than just experiencing sadness, depression doesn’t mean you are weak, nor is it something that you can simply “just get over.” Depression interferes with daily life and normal functioning and may require treatment. The rate of depression may be up to five times higher in active duty service members compared to civilians.
- Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI). A traumatic brain injury is usually the result of significant blow to the head or body. Symptoms can include headaches, fatigue or drowsiness, memory problems and mood changes and mood swings.
Help for Military Families
NAMI has an education program called NAMI Homefront, a six-session adaptation of the evidence-based NAMI Family-to-Family Education Program. This free program will focus on the unique needs of families of Military Service Members and Veterans who are living with mental illness and often face post-deployment or post-discharge challenges.
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