Veterans and the Stigma of Poor Mental Health

The stigma against seeking mental health services is a barrier to many veterans and active service members. The trauma of active duty, multiple deployments, and the mental rigors of service can lead to mental health conditions.

Nearly 60% of military service members suffering from mental health challenges don’t seek help. “While the military seeks to address it, institutional stigma involves policies and procedures that make seeking treatment needlessly challenging.”

As we discussed this very issue with UCO Counseling and a panel of military personal this week on campus, we found the consensus was that physical wellbeing is not the same as mental wellbeing. Several panel members discussed the change in the military mindset around “readiness”. The definitions of “readiness” are moving from a grey area to include mental health challenges. The military now strives to bring mental health issues out for open discussion. Service branches invite speakers from many walks of life to talk with military service members about mental health.

While there is still a long way to go to dispel the stigmas of mental health challenges among military service members, there are resources that can help. VUB has compiled a list of resources for our veteran students.

Mental Health Resources for the Military Community – Military OneSource

https://www.va.gov/healthbenefits/access/mental_health_care.asp

Stories of resilience:

While teaching a science class, Tim suddenly had a flashback to his experiences in Vietnam; remembering some gruesome things he had seen. Fortunately, an assistant principal who was a fellow Veteran and understood his experiences was on hand to help him get through it. Find more information at http://maketheconnection.net/symptoms