In the military, you have to become the best version of yourself.

What does that mean for soldiers and veterans? For some, the military can be a means to improve their mind and body; for others, it can be a source of stress and isolation; for many, it can be both. And for all, it can mean neglected mental health. Two nationwide studies found that 50-to-60% of soldiers who could have received psychological help for mental illness chose not to.

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Why this is an issue.

Going into the military is a huge responsibility that takes a monumental toll on a person, so it makes sense that all that pressure and stress could easily trigger feelings of anxiety or depression at times – as well as any other psychiatric issues a specific recruit might already be predisposed to having. However, studies have shown that people with psychological disorders are much less likely to get help if they feel that they themselves are responsible for their disorders. In other words, a person may come to believe that they are to blame for their own mental state, and would therefore eschew proper health care services. This phenomenon would go a long way toward explaining why soldiers may not be seeking out the help they need. Much in the same way the “macho” male culture in society-at-large prohibits an alarming percentage of men from getting psychiatric help, the emphasis on strength and perseverance at all costs in the military may be having a similar effect.

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Effecting change in the Tar Heel state.

North Carolina is one of the top states for both active and retired military personnel. There are a lot of soldiers and veterans here who may not be accessing valuable mental health care resources. It has been shown in a plethora of studies that individuals who accept their disorders as health conditions – i.e., something that they can work on – rather than unchangeable personality traits, live longer and happier lives.

There are many ways for active soldiers to get help, such as active duty military mental health programs. It can be difficult however, for retired veterans especially to get adequate treatment, due to accessibility, social stigma, and a general lack of VA resources. At Mindpath Health, we’re always ready to help you and members of your family find a route of treatment that will work for you.

soldier with dog

Remember, the best version of yourself is always the healthiest version of yourself.


If you or someone you know is struggling with the aftermath of active duty, click here to find providers in your area that specialize in treatment options for military personnel and their families.


Sources

Pickett, Treven, David Rothman, Eric Crawford, Mira Brancu, John Fairbank, and Harold Kudler. “Mental Health Among Military Personnel and Veterans.” North Carolina Medical Journal. 2015. Web. 11 Aug. 2017.
http://www.ncmedicaljournal.com/content/76/5/299.full

“The Stigma of Mental Health Problems in the Military.” Military Medicine. n.d. Web. 11 Aug. 2017.
http://militarymedicine.amsus.org/doi/full/10.7205/MILMED.172.2.157 [Link removed – no longer working]

“Military Active-Duty Personnel, Civilians by State.” Governing magazine. n.d. Web. 11 Aug. 2017.
http://www.governing.com/gov-data/military-civilian-active-duty-employee-workforce-numbers-by-state.html

“Study explores reasons why Veterans seek – or don’t seek – PTSD care.” U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs – Office of Research & Development. 24 Apr. 2014. Web. 11 Aug. 2017.
https://www.research.va.gov/currents/spring2014/spring2014-25.cfm

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