Our veterans and service members are some of the most brave men and women in our country. They’re passionate and disciplined when it comes to protecting and serving our country, which is a commitment we’re grateful for every day.
The invisible wounds of war
That bravery continues off duty as well — many carry the heavy weight of the sights and experiences they encountered while serving. Consider these statistics:
- 20 percent of veterans who served in Iraq or Afghanistan suffer from depression or post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
- A 2014 JAMA Psychiatry study found PTSD to be 15 times more likely for veterans and service members compared to civilians. The same report found depression to occur 5 times more frequently among military members than civilians.
- The same study from JAMA found 1 in 4 active duty military members suffer from a mental health condition.
PTSD, anxiety, traumatic brain injury (TBI), military sexual trauma (MST) and other mental health conditions can all occur as a result of military service. And, these health issues are every bit as serious as injuries we can see.
Healing these wounds
Our veterans and service members need access to quality mental health programs. They also need to know it’s okay to talk about their experiences. If someone you love may be suffering from a mental health issue, please check in with them regularly. Ask them how they’re doing and be ready to simply listen.
If you’re a veteran or service member suffering from any mental health symptom or condition, please reach out for help. Talk to a friend, family member or fellow veteran. Most importantly, don’t be afraid to seek professional help. You should never be embarrassed to get treatment for a mental health issue.
Honor our veterans and service members this Veterans Day by sharing this message with others. You can also help change the way the world sees mental health by taking the stigma-free pledge.
Do you want to learn more about the Emory Healthcare Veterans Program?
Tags: anxiety, Emory Healthcare Veterans Program, invisible wounds of war, mental health, military mental health, military ptsd, post-traumatic stress disorder, PTSD, service members, Veteran Mental Health, veteran mental health programs, veterans day