Veteran mental health is an often overlooked but extremely important topic. In the United States, there are over 20 million veterans, and of those, almost 3 million have been diagnosed with a mental health disorder. That means that nearly 15% of all veterans in the US have a mental health disorder.
These statistics are alarming, and they show that more needs to be done to support our veterans. In this blog post, we will look at some of the veteran mental health statistics in more detail and discuss what can be done to help those who have served our country.
The Relationship Between PTSD and Substance Abuse
Substance abuse is common among veterans with PTSD. Studies have shown that about one in three veterans seeking treatment for PTSD also has substance abuse problems. People who have PTSD may try to self-medicate by drinking alcohol or using drugs to numb their feelings of fear, guilt, shame, sadness, anger, and isolation. However, alcohol and drugs only worsen the symptoms of PTSD and can lead to other problems like financial ruin, homelessness, unemployment, jail time, and suicide.
There are many reasons why veterans turn to alcohol or drugs after returning from combat. Some do it to cope with painful memories or nightmares. Others use substances to try to fit in with civilian friends or to make new friends who understand what they’ve been through. Still others may think that drinking or using drugs will make them feel more alert and help them be on guard against threats that don’t exist anymore – a symptom known as hyperarousal.
Veteran Mental Health Statistics
- 3 million veterans in the US have been diagnosed with a mental health disorder
- Of those 3 million, 1.5 million suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
- Nearly 700,000 veterans suffer from depression, and 400,000 suffer from anxiety
- One veteran commits suicide every 65 minutes
- 22% of veterans who have served in Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom suffer from PTSD
- 17% of veterans who served during the Gulf War suffer from PTSD
- 12% of Vietnam War veterans suffer from PTSD
These statistics are alarming, and they underscore the need for more support for our veterans.
Contributing Factors to Mental Health Issues Among Veterans
There are a number of factors that contribute to these mental health issues among veterans. One is the nature of modern warfare. Veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan have seen things that no human being should ever have to see. They’ve witnessed atrocities and experienced things that would be unimaginable for most of us.
Another factor is the transition back to civilian life. It can be difficult for veterans to readjust to life outside the military. They may feel disconnected from friends and family who don’t understand what they’ve been through. Many struggle to find purpose and belonging after their time in service has ended.
The good news is that there are organizations and programs in place to help veterans with their mental health needs. The VA offers a wide variety of services, including counseling, therapy, and medication. There are also many non-profit organizations that provide support for vets with mental health issues.
The first step is understanding the problem and then working to find solutions. There are many organizations that provide support for veterans, and there are also many resources available online. If you know a veteran who is struggling, please reach out and offer them help. We owe it to them to do everything we can to support them after they have served our country. Thank you for taking the time to learn about this important issue.
With nearly 15% of all veterans suffering from mental health disorders, it’s clear that more needs to be done to support those who have served our country. These statistics are alarming, but by educating ourselves about the issue and supporting organizations that help veterans, we can make a difference. Thank you for taking the time to learn about this important issue.