Mental Health Awareness Month: In-Home Care for Veteran’s Mental Health

Mental Health Awareness Month: In-Home Care for Veteran’s Mental Health banner

Mental Health Awareness Month: In-Home Care for Veteran’s Mental Health banner

As Veterans transition from military to civilian life, many of them face unique challenges that can impact their mental health. In this blog, we'll explore common mental health issues affecting veterans, how to recognize symptoms, strategies for addressing these issues, and the role of in-home care for Veterans' mental health.

Common Mental Health Issues:

Veterans are at an increased risk of experiencing mental health issues due to their exposure to combat, traumatic experiences, and the stresses of military service. Common conditions include post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), depression, anxiety, substance abuse, and traumatic brain injury (TBI). These conditions can significantly impact veterans' daily lives, relationships, and overall well-being.

  • Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) – Veterans who experienced traumatic events, like a car accident, training accident, military sexual trauma, war zone deployment, or the death of a fellow military member, are often at risk of developing PTSD. They might replay the event in their minds, avoid reminders of it, or have nightmares related to it, as well as insomnia and anxiety. All of these are symptoms of PTSD, which can have a serious and lasting impact on their well-being, and overall quality of life. Veterans with PTSD will also tend to withdraw from their loved ones, have trouble concentrating, and lose interest in the things they used to enjoy. Some of them even turn to alcohol or drugs to cope.
  • Depression – While PTSD often receives more attention, depression is also a significant mental health concern in the military. Research indicates that depression accounts for up to 9% of all appointments within the military health network. The military environment itself can worsen depression, with factors such as separation from loved ones, combat stress, and exposure to trauma contributing to increased risk. Following deployments to conflict zones like Iraq or Afghanistan, diagnosed cases of depression among military personnel rose from 11.4% to 15%.
  • Anxiety - When Veterans come home from their service, some of them, because of the situation they were once in, have trouble letting their guard down. They often feel anxious and on edge which affects their daily life. Feeling anxious is normal, but when it starts affecting your daily life, it might be time to take action. Symptoms of anxiety can include feeling restless, excessive worrying, difficulty concentrating, racing heart, trembling, trouble breathing, dizziness, or trouble sleeping.
  • Substance Use Disorder (SUD) - Commonly referred to as addiction, this is a condition where individuals struggle to control their use of alcohol, drugs, or other substances, including opioids. Some veterans turn to these substances to cope with their trauma. They depend on it too much that it becomes an addiction. If left untreated, this misuse can significantly impact various aspects of life. Signs of SUD include experiencing an increased urge to drink or use drugs, an inability to stop despite efforts, engaging in hazardous behaviors like drinking and driving, changes in relationships due to substance use, feeling sick or experiencing withdrawal symptoms when not using, and developing a tolerance, requiring more alcohol or stronger drugs over time.
  • Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) - Various incidents like motor vehicle crashes, blasts, and falls can result in a traumatic brain injury (TBI), impacting over 375,000 members of the U.S. armed forces globally between 2000 and 2017. TBIs affect physical functions, thinking abilities, behaviors, and more, ranging from mild to severe. They may increase the risk of mental health issues like anxiety and depression, along with sleeping problems. Symptoms include headaches, blurred vision, hearing problems, difficulty speaking, dizziness, changes in taste or smell, trouble concentrating or remembering, repeating oneself, and increased anger or frustration. While most mild TBI symptoms resolve within hours to weeks, some individuals may experience persistent symptoms lasting months or longer.

These are just a few of the Mental Health Issues that Veterans commonly experience as a result of their service to our nation. We need to understand how varied and complicated these issues can be as they have a deep impact and lasting effects on them. This is the first step in ensuring that we can give them the support and care they deserve.

Addressing Mental Health Issues:

Addressing mental health issues in veterans requires a multifaceted approach. Encouraging veterans to seek help from professional resources such as the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) mental health services or community organizations is crucial. Creating a safe environment for open discussions and engaging in relaxing activities can also aid in managing symptoms and improving overall well-being. Here are some tips for starting a conversation about mental health:

  1. Don't doubt yourself; just reach out and show you care.
  2. Learn about mental health conditions affecting veterans.
  3. Recognize common symptoms such as changes in mood or behavior.
  4. Normalize conversations about mental health to reduce stigma.
  5. Be a good listener; find a comfortable setting and ask open-ended questions.
  6. Avoid comparisons and judgments; listen without criticism.
  7. Be direct and ask tough questions about their well-being.
  8. Remind them that help is available and mental health conditions are treatable.
  9. Express concern and support, emphasizing that you're there for them.
  10. Encourage them to seek care and explore different treatment options.
  11. Take care of yourself and seek support if needed.

How In-Home Care for Veterans Can Help:

In-home care plays a crucial role in supporting their mental health by providing personalized care and assistance tailored to their individual needs. Our team at Homewatch CareGivers understands the unique challenges veterans face and is trained to provide compassionate support. We partnered with the US Veterans Affairs (VA) and offer services such as assistance with activities of daily living, medication reminders, companionship, and emotional support. By fostering meaningful connections and creating a safe and comfortable environment, we aim to improve veterans' mental well-being and overall quality of life.

Supporting veteran mental health requires awareness, understanding, and collaboration. While it is important that caregivers recognize the common mental health issues and understand their symptoms, it's important to clarify that they do not diagnose mental health conditions. Instead, they implement effective strategies for support to help veterans lead healthier and more fulfilling lives. At Homewatch CareGivers, we are honored to serve our nation's veterans and are committed to providing the compassionate care and support they deserve. Contact us today at 208-350-7269 to learn more about how our services can benefit you or your loved one.

We serve the following cities:

Boise, Meridian, Eagle, Star, Nampa, Caldwell, Kuna, Mountain Home, Middleton, Parma, Homedale, Twin Falls, Jerome, Buhl, Kimberly, Filer, Wendell, Gooding, Burley.

Sources/ References:

Mental Health. (n.d.). | Veterans Affairs. | Veterans Affairs. (n.d.). | Veterans Affairs. (n.d.-b). | Veterans Affairs. (n.d.-c). | Veterans Affairs. (n.d.-d). | Veterans Affairs. (n.d.-e).

Veteran and military mental health issues. (2024, January 1). PubMed.

Gilbert, J., & Gilbert, J. (2024, January 10). Starting a conversation about mental health - healthy homefront. Healthy Homefront -.

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