Veterans often have to work in tough and challenging places in times of conflict. There are many such servicemen in the United States who have fought valiantly in different wars, sometimes to protect the nation and at others to defend beliefs. However, what all of them share is the experience of sacrifice, constant travel and a life full of unique challenges; which often exposes them to the risk of developing different kinds of mental disorders.
According to the latest report, “Quality of Care for PTSD and Depression in the Military Health System,” released by the RAND Corporation, the Military Health System (MHS) has done a great job in providing initial screening for mental health and substance use disorders (SUD), but still a lot needs to be done to ensure sufficient follow-up services to officers who are highly prone to committing suicide. The study team involved in compiling this report examined the case histories of more than 38,000 soldiers who had been diagnosed with depression, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) or both in 2013. Throughout 2001 to 2014, approximately 2.6 million troops were deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan, of which, 4 to 20 percent were diagnosed with mental disorders such as depression, PTSD and suicidal tendencies.
According to the 2014 data from the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), in 2014 alone, an average of 20 veterans committed suicide daily. Six of the 20 were users of VA services. Just like the rest, soldiers also shy away from seeking professional help to deal with mental and behavioral health problems, because of the stigma attached to it. There is a greater need to incorporate behavioral health into the community so that taking care of mental health is considered important for maintaining overall health and more and more families come forward to seek help.
Speaking openly about the stigmas of depression and addiction is still considered a taboo by many Americans. This is very disheartening, especially at a time when, according to the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), one in five U.S. adults struggle with mental illness each year. Additionally, the statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reveal that each year suicides claim more than 41,000 victims. Suicide is the tenth main cause of death among American adults and the second major cause of death among individuals aged between 10 and 24 years.
Why soldiers hesitate to seek help for depression?
According to NAMI, men account for 3.5 times the number of suicides as women, with depression being the leading cause of death. People suffering from depression not only have to fight the disease but also the stigma attached to it. Besides, the ever present fear of being perceived as weak or unmanly further aggravates this strain preventing men from seeking professional help. The misconceptions, due to which numerous soldiers fail to seek help to combat depression, are summed below:
- Depression is a sign of weakness: Sadly, most men live in their own make-believe worlds with the impression that depression affects only weak people. On the contrary, in the U.S. alone, it is a serious mental health condition faced by millions of men each year, just like any physical health condition, such as hypertension or diabetes, and does not reflect any personal or moral weakness.
- Real men never ask for help: This is one of the most common misconceptions preventing men from consulting a mental health professional having an in-depth knowledge of depression and related treatment options. Traditionally, men are under pressure to live a “macho” life and often end up battling mental health problems on their own.
- Suppressing feelings is a manly thing: Depression is a serious mental health disease requiring immediate attention. Whether affecting a man or a woman, depression can consume an individual for no reason at all as it is impossible to control the way the affected person feels; but, choosing how to react in the event of unpleasant moods is certainly achievable, through treatment for depression.
- Depression is a burden on society: Men often associate being mentally unstable as additional stress and burden on the family and society in addition to financial drain. What is saddening is that some men are always ready to lend a helping hand to anyone in need but fail to acknowledge their own need for help.
- Talking about depression is of no use: Turning a blind eye towards depression will neither treat it nor drive it away. Opening up to a close friend or a mental health professional will help look at the condition from a different perspective and seek help.
Depression is treatable
In addition to being the leading cause of disability worldwide, depression is also a major contributor to the overall global burden of disease. Sadly, many people fail to realize that a full-blown depression can be the root cause of numerous other maladies. Depression or any other mental illness must be taken seriously as it can become debilitating if left untreated.
Sovereign Health of San Clemente, California offers a variety of customized therapy for depression suited to treat the person holistically. Our team of specialists identify what causes depression and then prescribes personalized individual and group psychotherapies based on the patient’s requirements. Also, the patient can opt for alternative therapeutic activities to regain control of his or her life.
If you or your loved one is battling depression, call our 24/7 helpline number or chat online with our representatives, who would be happy to answer all your queries on treatment for depression.