Veterans, whether they served last year or twenty years ago, face a number of critical issues. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) notes that veterans can have many challenges, especially when trying to return to civilian life and to life with family, often as a result of experiencing traumatic events during their time in service.
SAMHSA lists several major issues facing veterans and their families, including:
- Criminal justice system encounters
Mental health becomes a serious problem for many veterans. According to SAMHSA, “three out of five veterans who died by suicide were diagnosed as having a mental health condition.” Veterans make up 20% of the country’s suicides.
Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) can impact veterans who have endured combat, whether resulting in physical injury or not. Those PTSD symptoms can often affect the family, on the soldier’s return. Repeated deployments and relocations can contribute to the issues faced by veterans and their families as well.
A veteran’s mental health state can affect all areas of that veteran’s life, including the struggle with substance abuse issues and potential involvement with the criminal justice system. The good news is that “specialty courts and legal projects have been created for veterans who are struggling” with those specific issues, according to SAMHSA. These specialty courts prioritize the “interconnection between criminal justice and behavioral health care, with a goal to fairly adjudicate the punishment of veterans charged with crimes.”
Mental health and substance abuse issues are leading causes of homelessness among veterans, who make up 10% of the country’s homeless population. Within the group of homeless veterans, three-fourths experience mental and/or substance abuse disorders.
There are resources to help veterans and their families deal with these issues. Veteran’s Passport to Hope offers a resource portal, designed for veterans who need help with housing, employment, mental health, physical health, and many other concerns. There are also resources for those who need immediate assistance, to get the help they need now.
If you or your family members need guidance to find help dealing with these issues or any others, please go to our resource portal at http://www.veteransresourceportal.com/ or contact us if you need help getting started. We’re here for you.