Mental Health Resources Available to Veterans

The US Government Accountability Office reports that, from 2006-2010, 2.1 million veterans sought mental health services from the Department of Veterans Affairs. Despite the high figure, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration found that only half of US vets receive the mental health services they need. Post-traumatic stress disorder, and signs of depression are the most common disorders that send veterans to mental health hospitals.

PTSD Treatment Barriers

Veterans often do not seek PTSD treatment for several reasons, including:

  • Demographic barriers and misconceptions about age or gender
  • Embarrassment about the stigma of having a mental health issue or disability
  • Shame associated with seeking mental health treatment
  • A lack of understanding and awareness about treatment options
  • Fear of being considered weak
  • Logistical issues, such as lack of transportation to a veteran’s mental health provider

Veterans Mental Health and Substance Abuse

The National Institute of Drug Abuse reports that participating in combat increases veterans’ risk of substance abuse. Many veterans deal with loneliness and isolation which, if left untreated, can lead to substance abuse and other mental health disorders. NIDA studies conducted in the late 2000s found unusually high rates of alcoholism and prescription drug abuse among veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan.

PTSD Therapy

Treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder usually includes some form of psychotherapy and medication (such as an antidepressant) to control symptoms. PTSD therapy is especially important for those with are abusing substances following their return home. Symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder usually emerge after veterans have been discharged from the hospital, so they may be at a disadvantage in getting connected with the appropriate PTSD resource.

Comprehensive PTSD Treatment

Smokey Point Behavioral Hospital provides extensive mental health services— including individual and group therapy– for those suffering from PTSD, including populations that are often overlooked, such as older military veterans who have been suffering with PTSD for years. Contact us to learn more about how we can help you or your loved one.