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Survey shows prominence of mental health issues among recent vets

In so many ways, we as a society are continuing to learn about the importance of mental health and the need to address it early and provide proper treatment to those who suffer with mental illnesses. Among veterans, the problem of mental health is well known. According to a recent survey of Iraq and Afghanistan veterans, this problem is particularly pronounced.

About 31 percent who took the survey reported that they had considered suicide at some point since joining the military. Forty percent of respondents said they knew at least one vet who served in either Afghanistan or Iraq who committed suicide, and 47 percent knew at least one vet who attempted suicide. 

The survey also found that over half of vets who served in the wars have mental health problems. Surprisingly, though, 27 percent said they are not currently seeking care. Sources didn’t say whether the survey broke down the issues vets were struggling with, but the fact that that many vets are not receiving care for their issues is somewhat concerning.

Benefits and care are available, of course, through the Veterans Administration. Vets may also be eligible to receive disability benefits through the Social Security Administration. The VA and the SSA use different processes for determining disability, and vets should not assume that they will be eligible for SSDI simple because they qualified for VA disability benefits.

Vets who feel they may be eligible for Social Security disability benefits can work with an experienced attorney to help ensure the best possible chance of a favorable outcome in their case. Doing so can come in handy in the event an appeal becomes necessary.

Source: Stripes, “Suicide's toll: Survey says half of vets know someone who has tried it,” July 24, 2014. 

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