On Your Radar podcast: Treating mental health and addiction in veterans

For some veterans, coming home can be anything but a homecoming. The transition can feel extremely jarring, from a high-speed, super-intense lifestyle and environment to suddenly trying to lead a “normal” life while only beginning to process what they’ve gone through.

Loneliness can build up quickly. Not only are they not around peers anymore, but many friends back home have since moved on to other things and other places. Civilian friends and family who mean well simply can’t know 100% what they’re going through. Some veterans even miss being a part of the action on the front lines.

And of course there’s the “tough guy” stigma of not wanting to show struggles, causing them to bottle it all up and cope in unhealthy ways.

It’s little wonder that 20% (almost 4 million) of U.S. veterans experienced mental illness in 2020, with over 6,000 suicides, almost three times that of the general population. Our veterans need help, and they need someone who’s been there and can truly understand and empathize on their level.

The Rosecrance Florian Program, for example, employs veterans, firefighters, and other first responders on their clinical staff who have gone through the same kinds of experiences and traumas, and just as importantly, know how to help others to truly process them.

The program attracts people from all over the country to create an environment where veterans, first responders, and front-line personnel can share their
experiences, thoughts and feelings with others who have walked the same walk, process and work through their addiction and mental health struggles together, learning how to cope, live, and flourish.

The bond among veterans can be extremely strong, and that doesn’t have to stop when they come back home. Knowing they’re not alone can be an important first step.

If you or someone you know is a veteran struggling with addiction and mental health, check out episode 13 of the Rosecance podcast “On Your Radar, “ which covers the difficulty in transitioning to life back home and why specialized programs that include fellow veteran’s can be so helpful.

Listen to “Treating Mental Health and Addiction among Veterans,” episode 13, HERE.