Veterans and first responders have a lot in common. Approximately 10% of EMTs, 19% of firefighters, and 25% of police officers are Veterans. Considering only 6% of the population has served, that number is astounding.
It’s easy to guess why Veterans are drawn to these jobs when they’re ready to rejoin civilian life. For many, these jobs, with the high stakes and brotherhood, are the closest occupations to what they’re used to.
That means 54% of first responders know what they’re signing up for, while 46% are about to learn the hard way.
According to one Psychiatric Times article, around 30% of first responders suffer from mental health issues like depression and PTSD. They’re also at a higher risk of suicide than the general population.
Veterans are more likely to suffer from PTSD than the general population, and in 2020, an average of 16 Veterans died by suicide each day.
For this reason, the Veterans Navigation Center in San Diego extends its services to first responders as well as military Veterans.
The United States Department of Veteran Affairs (better known as the VA) provides care for our Veterans. Often, the VNC helps coordinate benefits and care, acting as a go-between for the Veteran and VA while offering supplemental support.
Unless the first responder is a Veteran, they can’t utilize the VA. So, what’s the alternative? Some charities and organizations, like the Gary Sinise Foundation, help first responders with essential equipment, emergency relief, and training grants.
But there’s a distinct lack of emphasis on mental health.
At the Veterans Navigation Center, we help first responders with mental health counseling, family and marriage counseling, and substance use treatment.
First responders see and experience horrible things so the rest of us don’t have to. As a result, they’re often, understandably, at a loss for how to cope. They shut out partners, lash out at family members, spiral emotionally, or attempt to self-medicate. It’s also possible for a first responder to get injured on the job and become addicted to pain meds.
The VNC is a safe space where case managers understand what first responders are going through and want to help. Many, like Operations Manager Jay Wylie, know from experience that there is a light at the end of the tunnel. Consider the Veterans Navigation Center your train ride through that tunnel.
If you aren’t a first responder, but this article has you thinking about someone in your life, please call us on their behalf. Our trained counselors can walk you through an intervention and determine the best way to get your loved one the help they need.
The Veterans Navigation Center in San Diego wants to help our Veterans and first responders. All you have to do is call us at (858) 567-9191 or send us an email, and we’ll be here for you.
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🪖 🎖️Today, March 29, is National Vietnam War Veterans Day – a day dedicated to our nation's heroes who served in that war. Fifty years have passed since the final American military forces left Vietnam and our remaining prisoners of war were returned. Even after the passage of five decades, we still owe these veterans a large debt of gratitude. During the conflict, political controversy and disagreement were sadly misdirected toward those who had admirably served our nation. When these brave warriors returned from Vietnam, they received neither a hero’s welcome nor appreciation for their service that they deserved, but instead got apathy, anger and hate. Disappointingly, many were left to struggle alone with self-doubt, shame and the memories of those left behind. After their wartime service ended, these unsung heroes went to work, served in government and became involved in their communities. Vietnam War-era veterans went on to lead Fortune 500 companies, direct Oscar-winning films, create a prominent computer-programming language, map the human genome and many other outstanding accomplishments. Today, there are approximately 6 million living veterans from the Vietnam era – more than 30% of America’s veteran population. We offer our sincerest thanks on this momentous day to all of those brave souls who served! 🪖 🎖️
🪖 🎖️ Don't be afraid to ask a Veteran: “Have You Thought About Harming Yourself?” It might seem scary and awkward to ask them directly about suicide, but the Veteran in your life deserves it. Veterans are 50% more likely to commit suicide than non-Veterans. In this article, 'Veteran-in-recovery' Jay Wylie says: “It’s a conversation that needs to be had because, frankly, the Vet in question probably wants to talk about it. Being able to share your difficulties with someone who cares can be a huge relief.” Read an article about this important topic here: https://bit.ly/3a0TaI5