May has been designated as the official Mental Health Month. At Veteran’s Passport to Hope, of course, we focus on mental health awareness every month. We understand, as veterans and veteran advocates, that mental health is a constant challenge and a constant goal.
The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) has posted some significant numbers in regard to mental health and mental illness among Americans:
- Approximately 1 in 5 adults in the U.S.—43.8 million, or 18.5%—experiences mental illness in a given year.
- Approximately 1 in 25 adults in the U.S.—9.8 million, or 4.0%—experiences a serious mental illness in a given year that substantially interferes with or limits one or more major life activities.
- 6.9% of adults in the U.S.—16 million—had at least one major depressive episode in the past year.
- 18.1% of adults in the U.S. experienced an anxiety disorder such as posttraumatic stress disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and specific phobias.
Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) affects veterans who may experience symptoms such as hypervigilance, sleeplessness, and an inability to function after returning to civilian life. The Veterans Administration reports that between 11% and 30% of veterans suffer from PTSD, depending on their era of service:
- Operations Iraqi Freedom (OIF) and Enduring Freedom (OEF): About 11-20 out of every 100 Veterans (or between 11-20%) who served in OIF or OEF have PTSD in a given year.
- Gulf War (Desert Storm): About 12 out of every 100 Gulf War Veterans (or 12%) have PTSD in a given year.
- Vietnam War: About 15 out of every 100 Vietnam Veterans (or 15%) were currently diagnosed with PTSD at the time of the most recent study in the late 1980s, the National Vietnam Veterans Readjustment Study (NVVRS). It is estimated that about 30 out of every 100 (or 30%) of Vietnam Veterans have had PTSD in their lifetime.
VP2H recognizes the need to promote awareness of mental health issues throughout the year. We have compiled a vetted list of resources available to veterans who are struggling with the goal of mental health. If you are experiencing the symptoms of PTSD or need assistance with navigating through life’s challenges, please contact us.