As of the latest census numbers, there were 18.2 million military veterans in the United States of America.
This large portion of our population deals with a very unique set of circumstances, especially in regards to health and wellness. Today I will be going over some of the unique challenges faced by America’s veterans and resources available if this applies to you.
According to a study of veterans’ medical records, 41% have been diagnosed with either a mental health disorder or behavioral adjustment disorder. Many of these vets develop substance abuse issues in direct correlation to mental health disorders, and a large percentage also commit suicide.
The VA has vet centers that are available to you. These are free centers where you can get the help you need and talk to someone.
Male veterans have been found to be especially at risk for suicidal tendencies, especially when they are experiencing depression.
On a daily basis currently 18-22 veterans are committing suicide daily. And 11% of those who fail in their attempts will try again within 9 months.
These statistics are staggering, and make clear that it is of the utmost importance that all vets experiencing even the basest level of mental or emotional imbalance should make sure to see a professional for help.
PTSD can be diagnosed based upon tendencies of isolation, flashbacks, an unwillingness to trust, and arousal and reactivity problems.
Thankfully there are many options for those suffering from PTSD as it has become much more recognizable and understood.
Whereas roughly 20% of civilians report experiencing chronic pain, a whopping 82% of vets from Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom claim to experience it. Sometimes this may be connected to experiences of PTSD or TBI (Traumatic Brain Injury), which can complicate true diagnoses.
It is of utmost importance that diagnoses are made after a thorough examination, as veterans are more highly susceptible to substance abuse, making medical professionals very cautious about prescribing opioids for pain management.
In 2018 a study was conducted which found that nearly 50% of vets who had fought in Iraq or Afghanistan had experienced a form of Traumatic Brain Injury. Contrast this to the general public, where only 5-10% are estimated to have experienced TBI injuries.
In recent years the understanding of the effects of TBI on a person’s mental, emotional, and physical health has grown exponentially. This trauma to the brain can be the leading cause of depression, emotional instability, memory loss, or a number of other ailments.
Because the damage to the brain can increase over time, it is imperative to seek treatment immediately once TBI of any sort occurs.
Bob McDonald, the VA’s secretary, made a change in the VA last year for service-connected TBI claims. The VA should have already contacted you if you were examined by not a qualifying medical professional if your TBI rating was at 10% or higher. If you have not received notice of this, you can be re-examined and begin compensation from the date of first submitting.
If your initial exam was not performed by a registered medical examiner and you were denied, you could qualify for a re-examination. Your C&P exam must be completed by one of the following.
Here is a great resource for what to do if you believe you have suffered from a TBI.
How to file for VA Benefits?
If the above statistics are any indication, the uniqueness of military service cannot be understated. Participation in our armed forces means training, lifestyle, events, and traumas wholly unlike what the civilian population experiences.
With this distinct career comes distinct problems.
If any of the issues above (or any others not listed) are relatable to you, then file for your VA disability claim to receive benefits. These not only include monetary benefits but also access to different care centers, the ability to set your family up for success, and retirement benefits. Be sure to be honest with yourself and others around you.
Also, know that you do not have to go through this alone. Myself and all the other Veteran Coaches are Veterans. We have experienced many of the same things and are here to help.
Get the help you deserve.