Mental health care for veterans takes on the Warrior

Veteran mental-health services are improving — but too slowly. While about 50 percent of returning service members who need treatment for mental-health conditions seek it, just over half who receive treatment are getting the type and amount of support they need. As a psychologist who supports veterans and military families, I have noticed cultural and structural obstacles that can interfere with effective behavioral health care.

From the start, the Warrior Ethos — a set of principles focused on selfless service that veterans have been trained to follow — calls for our service members to prioritize the needs of the military mission over their own. Selfless habits serving the mission can become a barrier to seeking support upon returning to civilian life. Many veterans believe that seeking support is a sign of weakness. Others think that they are taking the spot of a veteran in "greater need" of support if they pursue treatment.

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