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You Can #BeTheDifference for Veterans in November

It is estimated that there are 19.6 million veterans living in the U. S. While military service can increase resilience in those who serve and build strength in their families, some experience mental health issues that require support and treatment.

The statistics surrounding veteran mental health and substance-use are troubling:

  • — Veteran suicide rates remain steady, despite the decreasing size of the veteran community.

— Veterans have a 41-61 percent higher risk of suicide than nonveterans.

— Veterans with a diagnosis of PTSD or another mental health disorder were more likely to receive an opioid prescription.

— The rate of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in veterans is nearly 15 times higher than civilians due to exposure to events like military combat, assault and disasters.

— The rate of depression is five times higher than among civilians.

— Almost a quarter of all women veterans experienced military sexual trauma, compared to 4% of male veterans. More than half of all women and more than a third of all men experienced sexual harassment in the service

— Only fifty percent of returning veterans receive mental health treatment.

To help support veterans, the National Council for Mental Wellbeing updated the Mental Health First Aid for Veterans module. The module provides a fundamental understanding of the common mental health challenges experienced by military personnel and the skills to identify and respond to them. It also teaches veterans strategies to better assess and access support for themselves, their colleagues, families and community members.

You can #BeTheDifference for our veterans – this month and every month. Here are some things you can do:

  1. Get trained. If you’re already a Mental Health First Aider – congratulations! Now, take the next step and encourage someone else to get trained, especially if you are a veteran or know someone who is.
  2. Spread the word. Share this video and infographic and one-pager over the course of the month to raise awareness about how important it is to support the mental health needs of our military personnel and their families.
  3. Read up. We’ll be sharing stories about mental health among veterans on the Mental Health First Aid blog during November.

Every day, Mental Health First Aiders are making a difference in communities across the country. Thank you for continuing to #BetheDifference in yours.

Learn more about how Mental Health First Aid serves veterans.

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