Veterans' Mental Health
Mental health reaches beyond simple feelings; it involves both psychological and emotional well-being. If psychological and emotional well-being is compromised, thinking, mood, and behavior are also likely to be affected. Family history and biological factors both play essential roles in mental health and can be impacted by life experiences, which can be detrimental.
Mental health is specifically pertinent to veteran welfare because of their exposure to life-threatening events while protecting our country. Although it is typical for our military members to have upsetting memories, feel on edge, or have trouble sleeping, these symptoms can often develop into post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), among other health issues.
Veterans’ mental health is a growing issue and requires public care to support our veterans after serving our country. Compared to the general public, veterans have a significantly higher risk of developing anxiety, depression, and PTSD. Of the current 18 million veterans in the United States, 1.7 million veterans have mental health conditions that make them especially vulnerable to depression, substance use disorders, anxiety, and severe mental illnesses. Moreover, less than 50% of returning veterans in need of mental health services receive any form of treatment.
Post Traumatic 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, and substance abuse. Studies show PTSD rates among veterans to be 20 to 30%.
Prevalent among many retired service members, depression is a serious mood disorder. The prevalence of depression among veterans is nearly five times higher than that of the civilian population and affects almost 14% of all veterans.
Traumatic Brain Injury
Usually the result of significant blows to the head or body. Symptoms can include headaches, fatigue or drowsiness, memory problems, and mood changes.
Texas is home to approximately 1.4 million retired service members, many of who are unable to access mental health resources, because of structural and cultural barriers. The real numbers are likely to be greater than what we see, due to underreporting attributed to the stigma surrounding mental health.
Learn more about veteran’s mental health
from different perspectives with these three videos.