For Connie and myself, speaking as retired Army folks, we understand that other veterans may experience a range of challenging emotions related to the current events in Afghanistan. This is true for Veterans who served in Afghanistan as well as for Veterans who served during other conflicts because one may be reminded of their own military or homecoming experiences. Veterans might feel betrayed, angry, frustrated or sad. There might be some questioning of your own military service. This is certainly understandable but Connie and I believe that those who don a uniform to serve something that is greater than themselves is ALWAYS good. Regardless of where you served, we all made a positive impact on those oppressed. There are some who gave all but all of us gave some. Veterans may feel new or increased moral distress about experiences they had during their service or worry about the safety of Afghans they knew, such as interpreters with whom they worked.
Feeling stressed is a normal reaction to negative events, especially those with which you have a personal connection. However, for some Veterans, these reactions may be overwhelming, continue for an extended period, or negatively affect functioning to the extent that intervention is indicated. The main key here is YOU ARE NOT ALONE….. There are a multitude of services available to help and you should take advantage of them. If nothing more, talk to another Veteran with a shared experience. Connie and I have always been and will continue to be proud of our and your military service, as should any Veteran.
While we cannot control what happens in the future we can play a part in the positive impact of the present. From the deepest part of our hearts Connie and I say thank you for your service, although thank you just doesn’t say enough.
Below I have listed some links to services that I hope you will avail yourself if you feel it helpful.
- Veterans Crisis Line – If you are having thoughts of suicide, call 1-800-273-8255, then PRESS 1 or visit http://www.veteranscrisisline.net/
- For emergency mental health care, you can also go directly to your local VA medical center 24/7 regardless of your discharge status or enrollment in other VA health care.
- Vet Centers – Discuss how you feel with other Veterans in these community-based counseling centers. 70% of Vet Center staff are Veterans. Call 1-877-927-8387 or find one near you.
- VA Mental Health Services Guide – This guide will help you sign up and access mental health services.
- MakeTheConnection.net – information, resources, and Veteran to Veteran videos for challenging life events and experiences with mental health issues.
- RallyPoint – Talk to other Veterans online. Discuss: What are your feelings as the Taliban reclaim Afghanistan after 20 years of US involvement?
- Download VA’s self-help apps – Tools to help deal with common reactions like, stress, sadness, and anxiety. You can also track your symptoms over time.
- Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors (TAPS) – Request a Peer Mentor
- VA Women Veterans Call Center – Call or text 1-855-829-6636 (M-F 8AM – 10PM & SAT 8AM – 6:30PM ET)
- VA Caregiver Support Line – Call 1-855-260-3274 (M-F 8AM – 10PM & SAT 8AM – 5PM ET)
- Together We Served –Find your battle buddies through unit pages
- George W. Bush Institute – Need help or want to talk? Check In or call:1-630-522-4904 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Elizabeth Dole Foundation Hidden Heroes – Join the Community
- American Red Cross Military Veteran Caregiver Network – Peer Support and Mentoring
- Team Red, White & Blue – Hundreds of events weekly. Find a chapter in your area.
- Student Veterans of America – Find a campus chapter to connect with.
- Team Rubicon – Find a local support squad.