As more military service members return from Iraq and Afghanistan with pressing mental health needs, the Department of Veterans Affairs and others are stepping up to assist.
With approximately 40 percent of the more than 300,000 returning veterans facing a possible mental health diagnosis, the demand for services is great, encompassing both veterans and their families. And the impact is felt throughout society.
Military personnel can now use two newly updated guides to help them and their families in the process of reuniting. Returning from the War Zone: A Guide for Military Personnel and Returning from the War Zone: A Guide for Families of Military Members were created by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs’ National Center for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) in collaboration with EDC.
“The guides offer practical, frontline help for service members and families to work through some problems they might encounter when service members return home,” says EDC’s Mary Kay Landon. “It was a privilege to work with the Veterans Administration on such important pieces.”
Estimates of the rate of PTSD among returning veterans range from 12 to 20 percent. The suicide rate of Army troops is at the highest level since 1980. And there is increasing concern about rates of military sexual trauma and inequity of services provided to female veterans.
Updated to make them more accessible to diverse audiences, the 15-page guides have new photographs, informational sidebars, and personal narratives from both service and family members. Both publications are designed to provide guidance on how to approach the reintegration process, as well as how to differentiate common reactions to trauma from symptoms of PTSD.
The guides address such questions as:
- What common reactions to returning from a war zone do service members and their families need to be aware of?
- How can service members and their families cope with these common reactions?
- What are the warning signs that service members might need some outside help?
- Where can they attain this help?
The two guides are available online in PDF format for download from the National Center for PTSD website, which features extensive educational materials and other resources for a variety of audiences.
Originally published on July 13, 2009