Veterans, though often treated as heroes, struggle a lot after coming back home. Many face problems with their mental and physical health, some cannot find their place among their family and friends and an overall community.
After their time in the military, veterans can experience difficulties adjusting back to their lives among their families and communities. While the majority of veterans readjust to life off the battlefield and to the new reality with only a few difficulties, some face a variety of challenges, sometimes seemingly impossible to overcome.
The issues that veterans are facing are not unsolvable and civilians can support them in many ways. Still, they may not be completely aware of the challenges the veterans have to face everyday after coming back home. The transition from military service and returning to civilian life can present many challenges.
Below you’ll find only a few issues that can be some of the biggest challenges that veterans face on a daily basis after coming back home and perhaps they’ll help you understand them and their struggles better.
Apart from mental health issues and economic challenges, there are many social issues that the veterans have to face. They have to deal with numerous problems when reconnecting with their families, their kids and when trying to build a community and finding a place in that community.
Reconnecting With Family
Veterans may struggle when they come home, because nobody understands their experience, not even their loved ones. Their families treat them exactly as the same people as they were before their military duty but they’re not certainly not the same. They need some decompression time when they come home and people who will understand them.
Joining or Creating a Community
Joining a community can pose problems for veterans returning home. Some people may ask them whether they killed somebody, what it was like on the battlefield and what was their task. Most of the veterans want to forget or at least don’t talk about these things, as many people won’t understand them anyway. That’s why it’s difficult to create a community.
Being a part of a community means sharing their feelings, and many veterans aren’t ready for that. Some do, so they become socially active and they even enter politics. Veteran candidates for congress are nothing surprising, quite a high number of them struggle to find their place among their communities.
Mental Health Issues
Veterans often suffer from a variety of mental issues. Combat veterans, because of their unique experience, can face more severe mental health issues than other veterans. Depression and suicide risks are higher among people who served in the military.
Still, these issues can be solved either by getting appropriate professional help or with help from their family and friends. However, many veterans don’t. The reason why people don’t get the necessary treatment is because of the social stigma around mental health issues, and the financial barrier, as many veterans can’t afford treatment. Here are some of the most common mental health issues that veterans suffer from.
While PTSD and moral injury have similar symptoms, the causes of each are different. PTSD is caused by fear. During some innocuous situations, individuals who previously went through traumatic events may suddenly feel that they’re going to get injured or they or somebody else is going to die.
Moral injury may occur when troops are asked by their commanders to do something that’s against their moral code. Their moral compass suggests that they’re doing something against their will, feeling betrayed by the higher authorities but still have to do it anyway. It can be life-shattering to a lot of people.
Anxiety and Depression
Veterans may also suffer from anxiety and depression. Some may go and see a specialist but many will try to self-medicate, which may lead to addiction, physical injuries, and problematic alcohol use.
Apart from mental and physical issues that the veterans face, they need to adjust to their lives from an economic point of view, as well. This can pose many challenges, like finding a job, being able to secure financial stability, and not living from paycheck to paycheck. Otherwise, veterans may face problems, such as unemployment or homelessness.
Many veterans struggle to find employment after they come back home. People often start their service in the military right after they graduate high school. That’s why they don’t have the required education to apply for many jobs and are left to do menial jobs that don’t pay well or don’t find a job at all.
A scary number of people who are homeless are veterans. After coming back home, many veterans become addicted to drugs, medication, or alcohol, and they often struggle with mental illnesses. Other veterans are not able to pay for their housing and thus become homeless.
Veterans, though often treated as heroes, struggle a lot after coming back home. Many face problems with their mental and physical health, some cannot find their place among their family and friends and an overall community. Others can’t find a place to live and a job that will secure them financially. It is important to help them with their health and support them in any way possible, trying to understand and show compassion to them.