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Community Impact

Changing a culture that once ignored mental health

For veterans who are ready to begin their healing journey, Rosecrance’s Resilience Program offers outpatient and residential treatment.

During their time serving the United States, military personnel can encounter traumatic events.  Millions of veterans will carry that trauma with them, resulting in symptoms that indicate there are challenges to their mental health.

Around 14% to 16% of U.S. service members who were deployed to Afghanistan and Iraq are suffering from PTSD or depression. While these mental health concerns are well-known, it is important to recognize that other issues, such as suicide, traumatic brain injury, substance use disorder, and interpersonal violence, can be equally harmful to this population.

Many veterans who are facing challenges with their mental health often feel reluctant to seek help and support due to the unique culture they experience while serving. This culture tends to promote the belief that exposing one’s vulnerability is not acceptable, and this idea continues to linger with veterans long after they leave the military. As a result, they may not realize that the symptoms they are experiencing are related to their mental health.

“Often, that feeling comes from the belief or minimization that they don’t have the worst struggle, but in reality, their struggles are just as bad. Two people’s struggles don’t have to be the same for them to be severe,” said Caroline Golko, mental health clinician for Rosecrance Therapies.

It is important to provide veterans with a safe and supportive environment where they can share their experiences without fear of judgment or harming others by telling their stories, Golko said. If veterans have difficulty accessing mental health services in the past, they should be encouraged to keep trying until they can find an environment that meets their needs.

“Don’t judge everyone based on one or two bad experiences. There are still plenty of people who want to help. Keep fighting, keep trying,” Golko said.

If veterans want to begin their mental health journey but are unsure about seeking help from a mental health professional, peer support may be a good first step.

When approached by someone who has gone through a similar journey and has made progress, it allows other veterans to see that there is hope and a way out of their struggles.

This can be especially helpful for those who share similar mental symptoms and can relate to the challenges they may face, Golko said.

“Peer support is huge, and it is sometimes the first leg into their comfort zone, which can prepare them for their recovery journey,” Golko said.

For veterans who are ready to begin their healing journey, Rosecrance’s Resilience Program offers outpatient and residential treatment for veterans, first responders, and other frontline workers who are struggling with their mental health.  Rosecrance’s Access Team is available to assist individuals who need help determining the right help for them or a loved one. To learn about your options, please call 888.928.5278.

Get Help Now (866) 330-8729