The 20-year war in Afghanistan was brought to a close this week, and that’s brought up some issues for veteran patients of multiple past wars.
But so far the Roseburg VA Medical Center has been hearing that from patients already in treatment there, Acting Public Affairs Officer Traci Palmer said Wednesday.
The Roseburg VA has not seen an increase in new veteran patients seeking mental health care in the wake of America’s pullout from Afghanistan, she said.
Palmer said the VA offers a number of treatment options for veterans who do reach out, from brief mental health interventions by primary care providers to long-term residential care.
“We individually assess and partner with veterans on how best to meet their needs,” Palmer said in an email.
“If veterans are finding current events distressing, we encourage them to reach out to mental health, or to talk with their primary care providers,” she said.
The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs sent a bulletin out to veterans on Aug. 16, in which it said veterans from all eras were reacting to the events in Afghanistan.
Among the symptoms veterans may be experiencing, the VA said, are feeling frustrated, sad, angry or betrayed.
An increase in depression or post-traumatic stress disorder symptoms, poor sleep, substance abuse or avoiding social situations are also possible, it said.
Some veterans may even become overly protective, vigilant or preoccupied by danger.
“Veterans may question the meaning of their service or whether it was worth the sacrifices they made. They may feel more moral distress about experiences they had during their service. It’s normal to feel this way,” the bulletin said.
The VA recommended meaningful or enjoyable activities, staying connected, and sticking to routines as good coping strategies.
Veterans in crisis can call the Veterans Crisis Line at 1-800-273-8255 and press 1. They can also visit online at veteranscrisisline.net or contact emergency mental health care through the Roseburg VA at 541-440-1000.
Source One Serenity, a local nonprofit, also offers fly fishing, forest trail work and other outdoor activities designed to be therapeutic for veterans, including those suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder. Source One Serenity can be reached at 541-580-5655, or by email at email@example.com.