According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), there are about 200,000 men and women who find themselves transitioning out of the military. They are leaving the structure of the military and heading back to civilian life which is why identifying evidence-based interventions that improve health outcomes for veterans with behavioral health disorders is a national priority. This can be an enormous adjustment for veterans and their families. They have to rebuild their lives outside of the structure and stability that the military provides. For these reasons and more, it is essential that veterans have access to community-based programs. These programs can be vital for the health and well-being of veterans navigating these challenging transitions.
Understanding the Challenges Veterans Face
Big life changes are stressful for everyone. The process can be especially stressful for people transitioning out of the military lifestyle. While in the military, people experience a very unique culture with built-in structure and support in almost every aspect of life, making the move into civilian life causes an enormous amount of stress and pressure. It may present a set of extremely unique challenges for veterans.
Unfortunately, those transitioning out of the military may turn to unhealthy coping mechanisms to cope with stress. “After discharge from the military, veterans may report challenges with reintegration including social isolation, symptoms of post-traumatic stress, and suicidal ideation” (Pathways to program entry: Factors promoting entry and participation in veteran peer-support programs, Turner et al., 2022.) Also, veteran populations have an increased risk to develop substance use disorders (SUDs).
It is crucial to understand that veterans have unique needs when it comes to treatment and recovery. Their commitment to serving their country means that they have been exposed to chaotic situations that the average civilian will never experience. It is our responsibility to make sure that we are applying the utmost sensitivity to supporting them through any struggles they may experience when transitioning back to civilian life.
Helping Veterans Feel Less Overwhelmed
The Lantana Recovery team understands that veterans entering treatment programs have a unique set of needs. Cultivating a safe space that provides stability, awareness, and advocacy for our clients is one of our top priorities. We believe that our community-based programs have unique benefits to offer veterans. Our approach includes various holistic and experiential therapies, including the utilization and incorporation of community resources.
At Lantana, we understand that one of the most important things we can do to help a veteran during recovery is to help them feel connected to the people around them. When individuals have a community of like-minded people all striving toward the same goals, it can have a tremendous impact on the efficacy of treatment. Feeling supported while redefining one’s understanding of the world can make the process feel less overwhelming.
The Importance of Having a Community of Peers
Isolation can be a common and harmful instinct for veterans. Keeping completely to themselves is a common and very unhealthy coping mechanism that is often seen in veterans.
For one reason or another, veterans in crisis may be hesitant to get the help they need. They may feel the overwhelming need to avoid difficult emotional situations. It is crucial for individuals to reach out to veteran loved ones who may be overwhelmed.
Additionally, the staff at Lantana Recovery can help veterans deal with the symptoms of trauma or mental health challenges. It is far too common for veterans to end up falling into self-abuse habits, such as addiction or self-harm. Without support, this pattern of self-abuse can have extremely devastating results.
At Lantana Recovery, we believe that helping someone establish a community of peers can be instrumental in helping a veteran avoid the pitfalls of unhealthy patterns of behavior. We strive to help our clients weave their recovery process into a community that they can utilize and lean on while rebuilding their lives. By establishing a strong community-based foundation, our clients can be empowered to apply the skills they are learning in our programs. Our clients – especially veterans – need friendship and advice from people who have been in the same kind of situation.
As the United States faces two decades of continuous war, media and individuals with personal military connections have elevated public and professional concerns for the mental health of veterans and service members. At Lantana Recovery, the goal of our treatment programs is for every client to become independent and self-sufficient. The men and women that have served in the armed forces deserve no less than our best resources and support.
We recognize that recovery does not occur on a linear path, and we understand there will be challenges along the way. Our team specializes in offering the very best evidence-based therapies and community-based recovery programs to navigate these challenges. We appreciate the complexity of life and utilize a multidisciplinary approach, in conjunction with holistic therapies, to treat each client as an individual.