At least 60% of military Veterans who have served in Iraq and/or Afghanistan have enrolled in care in the Department of Veterans Affairs. However, many Veterans are reluctant to seek mental treatment. A recent study suggests that about one-third of Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans who have major depression or post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and over half of those who acknowledge alcohol misuse, do not choose to get mental health treatment in the year following screening (Elbogen et al., 2013).
Blog posts with the tag "Guest Perspective"
When my husband decided to join the US Navy, he and I were still dating. I had recently graduated with my Master’s degree in social work and just started my first “real” job, working as a substance abuse counselor for incarcerated adolescents. I still remember the day he told me he was thinking of joining the military. He asked if I was okay with his decision. I said I supported him, but would have to decide if I wanted to follow him down this path.
My professor set me up for success in the clinical world when I was tasked to read Unspeakable Truths and Happy Endings: Human Cruelty and the New Trauma Therapy by Rebecca Coffey.The purpose was to prepare us as students to sit in the pocket of the client’s story, no matter how tragic or graphic. It was a challenging task as the book was filled with gruesome stories, including one of a Veteran, introducing me to the impact of combat trauma. It was a wake-up call to the high honor and power of listening to someone’s story, especially those of military families.
Like many, my understanding of culture grew through my experiences over time. I grew up as a Hispanic woman in a predominantly Hispanic part of Texas. When I went away to a school in the North, I quickly learned I was different than many there. Nearly every interaction was a cross-cultural one. It made me stronger, took me out of my comfort zone, and taught me that adaptation was necessary, not just for survival, but to be successful. It also gave me a whole new respect for a wider and more diverse world.