Supporting our Veterans
In honor of Veteran’s Day, we wanted to post some tips on how to best support the veterans in your community.
Relationships: After a veteran returns home, it can seem as though you don’t even know him/her anymore. Many veterans are dealing with the stress of assimilating back into their communities while simultaneously trying to find a job, care for family members and deal with trauma from their time overseas. While relationships may be strained, they are also an extremely important support system for veterans. Communication may be hard—but don’t stop trying. You can help a veteran solely by showing that you are there and ready to talk when he/she is ready.
Psychological Health Concerns: Unfortunately, traumatic events are common experiences among service men and women. Just as everyone who hasn’t deployed reacts to traumatic events differently, service members also have different responses to trauma. Some veterans may have acute stress reactions, such as bad thoughts, feelings and behaviors that come up when thinking about the event. Sometimes, however, these thoughts and feelings can be more severe and veterans can have post-traumatic stress disorder or a traumatic brain injury. In either case, it is important to support your veteran in any way you can. Be supportive of him or her and avoid using stigmatized or judgmental language. Keep a positive attitude and encourage your veteran to seek help if necessary.
Employment: When service men and women return from overseas, they often have the added stress of looking for a job and may feel that they don’t have the tools or knowledge necessary to navigate the job market. While you are probably not in the position to help a returning service member find employment, you can offer your services in other ways. Offer to edit a cover letter or resume for your veteran. Help to conduct online job searches. Point the service member in the direction of websites designed specifically to help veterans get a job, such as www.hireveterans.com or www.hireheroesusa.org. Again, simply listening to your veteran’s frustration and offering support is a great way to show him/her that you are there.