Being in the military can create a lot of stress for service members and their families. Deployments, as well as the time before and after a deployment, can cause service members and their families to feel sad, irritable, or distressed. Even after leaving the military, veterans and their families often continue to struggle. Veterans who are wounded, disabled or develop PTSD and depression as a result of their service often face even more challenges than their peers who returned without mental illness.
Feeling stressed is common, but unfortunately it's also common for people to not seek counseling for it. During Counseling Awareness Month this April, you can learn a lot more about the counseling options available for you and your family.
What Is Counseling?
Counseling is defined as "a professional relationship that empowers diverse individuals, families and groups to accomplish mental health, wellness, education and career goals." Whether you're struggling with career choices, marriage issues, depression or anything else, you can try to change your life for the better by seeking counseling.
Service members and veterans can take advantage of two different types of counseling: Non-medical and medical. Non-medical counseling is best for those who would like to work on anger management, stress relief, adjusting to new circumstances, improving relationships, grief and short-term problem-solving. Medical counseling addresses more complex psychological issues such as depression, PTSD or substance abuse.
Many veterans' organizations offer non-medical counseling, or can connect you with professionals who offer it. Military One Source is a great resource for free non-medical counseling. Real Warriors Live Chat is another helpful resource for veterans to talk to trained health consultants who can connect you to the right counseling services. Give An Hour is a similar program that offers free mental health resources.
Counseling For PTSD, TBI Or Depression
Veterans who struggle with depression, traumatic brain injury (TBI), substance abuse, suicidal thoughts and other psychological issues can benefit the most from medical counseling. Cognitive therapy, counseling, medication and other treatments can help minimize the effects of PTSD and TBI, especially if treatment starts early on. Even if a veteran waits a long time to seek treatment, it can still be highly effective.
A good starting place is the DCoE Outreach Center. The Outreach Center doesn't offer counseling, but it will connect you with the help and resources you need to receive counseling. Veterans can also find a number of resources through VA hospitals. The VA provides Vet Centers, which offer counseling and transitional help for veterans returning home from duty. The VA's PTSD Programs are located throughout the country as well. If there isn't a PTSD-specific center in your area, all local VA hospitals offer mental health counseling, including PTSD counseling. A full list of the VA's mental health resources is available here.
Seeking Help Is A Sign Of Strength
Receiving help is not a sign of weakness. It takes a lot of courage to admit that you need support from a counselor. Veterans who do reach out are taking the first step towards strengthening themselves and their family.
During Counseling Awareness Month, everyone can make a difference by helping to remove the stigmas surrounding mental health. Negative stereotypes create feelings of shame for those who truly need treatment, making them less likely to reach out. The best way to help remove mental health stigmas is to create a conversation about mental health, raise awareness, and share credible information. Check out these ways to make a difference from the National Alliance on Mental Illness.
Strengthen A Veteran's Life By Donating Your Car
If you know a veteran or have served in the military yourself, you know how important veterans'-only services are. These services can be especially beneficial for veterans living with service-connected disabilities. If you would like to support programs for disabled veterans, you can do so just by donating your car to Vehicles For Veterans.
Car donation is a great way to get rid of an unwanted car while supporting a great cause. Plus, we offer free towing and the maximum possible tax deduction. Donate your car today by calling 1-855-811-4838 or by filling out an online car donation form.