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After Service: Seeking Help for Mental Health Issues

April 23, 2017

Veterans who face mental health issues face unique challenges. Their disabilities may not be immediately apparent to loved ones, and getting a proper diagnosis can be difficult. In addition, some veterans may feel embarrassed or ashamed to admit to having a mental health condition.

Because of this, some veterans with mental health conditions do not seek treatment. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration estimates that half of returning veterans with mental health conditions do not seek treatment.

There are also unique issues for each type of mental health condition. Some common and troubling mental health conditions among service members include post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and depression.

PTSD and Veterans

Anyone can experience PTSD, but those who are exposed to very intense or long-lasting traumatic events are more likely to suffer from PTSD. Veterans are often faced with these situations in the line of duty.

Symptoms of PTSD include reliving the event repeatedly, avoiding situations that remind you of the event, having increased negative feelings, and feeling jittery or excessively alert.

If you are experiencing these symptoms, seek help from a mental health professional who can diagnose your condition and assist you in determining which treatment options are available to you and best suit your needs. You may also be able to receive VA benefits if your disability is connected to your military service. If you need help gathering evidence and making your case to the VA, contact an experienced veterans attorney.

Depression and Veterans

Many symptoms of depression overlap with symptoms of PTSD. While depression can arise without an obvious cause, it can also be caused by a traumatic event.

Veterans with depression may experience trouble sleeping, a lack of interest in activities they used to enjoy, and irritability. 

Veterans with depression related to military service may also receive disability compensation, but it is important to note that the disability rating, and thus the amount of compensation, is determined by the impact of the disability on the veteran’s ability to function in daily life. It is not solely based on your symptoms.

Mental health issues are every bit as real as physical disabilities. Getting a diagnosis and treatment now may prevent a condition from becoming more serious later on, so seek professional help if you or a loved one has symptoms of PTSD or depression.

Veterans experiencing mental health issues should get help from a mental health professional. The National Center for PTSD provides a helpful lists of resources where veterans can get help, which you can find here.

For help with your veterans benefits claim for a mental health issue, contact an experienced veterans law practitioner. Chisholm Chisholm& Kilpatrick has over 25 years of experience handling veterans benefits claims and appeals, and we understand the unique challenges involved in mental health claims. Contact us for a free case evaluation here.