3 Reasons Why Access to Therapy Is Crucial for Our Veterans

Reasons Why Access to Therapy Is Crucial for Our Veterans“Thank you for your service” is a compliment that people love doling out to veterans they encounter in public. While the sentiment comes from a good place, the gratitude expressed is rarely felt where it counts to our service members.

Those who have served in America’s wars face a number of challenges once they make it back home. Studies showed that up to 16 percent of veterans who served in Iraq and Afghanistan were diagnosed with conditions like Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and Depression. 

The consequences of letting trauma remain unresolved can have significant effects. Not just on the individual. But on society at large. 

“Seek therapy” is a sentiment that often gets thrown around in this context. Many wonder how much therapy can help veterans. Don’t they just need better opportunities and a VA that doesn’t dismiss their claims for help? 

Well, it isn’t an either/or situation. Mental health resources are critical for a number of reasons – which I will be explaining below.

I’m writing this article because I’m a bestselling author on anxiety with about 2 million books sold globally.

Plus I founded the therapist recommended self-paced online course called The Anxiety Cure.

I love to help people to live calmer, happier lives. So I put together this article with 3 key reasons why access to therapy is crucial for veterans.

3 Reasons Why Therapy Is Crucial for Our Veterans

1. To Help Veterans Deal With The Difficult Transition to Civilian Life

The military provides a highly structured environment where routines are well-defined and expectations are clear. However, in civilian life, these structures and routines are not always obvious. In fact, they can be quite fluid and vague. Many veterans find it difficult to adapt to this jarring difference.

Veterans rarely find the same sense of order and structure in civilian life. They might try to create such an environment at home. But they only end up alienating their spouse and children. 

In such a context, therapists can assist veterans by helping them:

  • Develop healthy communication skills
  • Improve their interpersonal relationships
  • Realize the need to adjust to society, just as they first adjusted to military life
  • Educate them on ways to build their social support networks

Therapy can also offer specific forms of treatments that help veterans with various mental health issues. According to Zencare, EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing) is one of the best ways to treat veterans who have experienced trauma and PTSD. 

Similarly, Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT) is often used to a great extent in helping veterans deal with depression and anxiety. 

2. To Help Veterans Deal With Financial Difficulties and Homelessness

Veterans often have disabilities resulting from military service. As much as we’d like it not to be, physical disabilities can limit their employment options to a great degree. This, in turn, impacts financial stability and increases the risk of homelessness. Earlier this year, the VA stated how it hoped to help at least 38,000 veterans with access to permanent housing in 2023. 

This is welcome news as veterans often face financial hardships, such as low income, limited job opportunities, and inadequate access to affordable housing.

However, it’s not all bad. In states like Texas, homelessness for veterans has dropped by 65% since 2010, according to the National Alliance to End Homelessness. The VA concurs with that statistic, but pegs it a little lower (at 50%).  Access to Texas Therapist networks has helped countless veterans connect with the right resources in this context. How? 

Therapists can help provide psycho-education to veterans on the various resources available. Many times, the challenge lies in convincing the person to accept help. Therapists are able to reason with veterans who feel betrayed by the system. 

In addition, there might be a lot of shame and stubbornness when it comes to accepting help. Especially when this help revolves around basic needs like housing or rental assistance. Therapy can help lower those emotional inhibitions. 

3. To Guide Veterans in Making Better Life Choices

Transitioning from a highly structured and disciplined environment to one with more freedom often leads to veterans engaging in risky behaviors. 

Reckless driving, crime, thrill-seeking activities, or impulsive decision-making are common. These behaviors can stem from a desire for excitement and adrenaline.

It goes without saying that some of these behaviors can bring about legal consequences as well. A report by the Council on Criminal Justice showed that one-third of veterans had been arrested at least once in their lives. 

Therapists can help veterans deal with unresolved trauma and anger and explore any underlying factors that contribute to risky life choices. 

Conclusion: Reasons Veterans Benefit from Therapy 

Therapy can be a transformative and invaluable resource for veterans of the military. It offers a path toward healing and growth for veterans as they navigate the challenges of civilian life.

Therapy provides a safe space where veterans can unpack their experiences, process their emotions, and develop the necessary tools to overcome obstacles. It offers a supportive environment where they can rediscover their strengths and also attempt to redefine their purpose in life.

Remember, the choice to seek therapy is not a sign of weakness. It’s an act of courage and self-care. It is a step towards reclaiming control over one’s own well-being. Plus it’s a way to find the support needed to thrive in whatever situation veterans find themselves in.

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