With November comes the anticipation of the holiday season, and as Thanksgiving approaches many are beginning to plan their celebrations. But before you start stuffing your turkeys and baking pumpkin pies, I ask you to first put that energy into bringing awareness to another November holiday. Veteran’s Day is on November 11th every year and as per the U.S. Department of Veterans affairs is “A celebration to honor America’s veterans for their patriotism, love of country, and willingness to serve and sacrifice for the common good.”
In observance of Veterans Day, we should also recognize the ongoing battles many veterans face after service. According to an eight-year study, roughly 11% of veterans who first seek treatment through a Veterans Affairs (VA) facility meet the criteria for a substance use disorder. In many cases, veterans also struggle with co-occurring mental health disorders. Some of these co-occurring mental health disorders include depression or post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). According to Veterans Affairs more than 1.7 million veterans receive treatment for a mental health or substance use disorder every year. But unfortunately, there are still many who do not reach out for help.
So, before you start prepping for turkey day, remember to support our vets by raising awareness for the service and sacrifices they made, but also for the battles like addiction and mental health issues that they are facing now that they are home. For those veterans still struggling with mental health and substance use issues, help can be found in our community. For questions, support, and referrals please call or text 1-844-HELP4WV or chat online.