Speaking to reporters last month about the situation in Afghanistan, Governor DeWine announced a new program to help bolster Ohio’s veteran care services.
“First of all, your service matters,” DeWine said in his official statement. “Your service mattered. You matter. The people of Ohio, the people of this country, are deeply grateful for your service. But even the toughest warriors need to take a knee, and get a drink of water, and that applies mentally too. Sometimes the emotional and mental burden becomes too heavy and we have to take a knee and ask for help.”
Service members experience plenty of mental stress in the course of their duties, but this burden doesn’t end when they separate from the military. As part of the new effort led by the Ohio Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services and Ohio Department of Veteran Services, the state will work with local veteran organizations to identify gaps in mental health services and offer assistance.
Major General Deborah Ashenhurst also spoke, saying that the recent events in Afghanistan could be triggers for veterans and directing those in need of help towards the resources available through the Ohio Department of Veterans Services.
“We’re here today to ensure our veterans and their families know we appreciate them all for what they’ve done for our country and remind them that there are many avenues to healthy ways to deal with our emotions,” Ashenhurst said.
Coping with Modern Mental Stress
The COVID-19 pandemic has affected nearly every aspect of life, perhaps most especially mental health. As a result, many Ohioans have experienced a depression spike following the lockdowns. During the peak of the pandemic, when quarantines were in full effect, four in 10 adults in the United States reported symptoms of quarantine depression, with Ohio ranking eighth highest among all states.
Though quarantine lockdowns are a thing of the past for most people, many across Ohio are finding themselves looking for professional help to deal with anxiety, depression, and stress. It can become easy for us to feel overwhelmed in our personal lives, and with even more bad news coming in from abroad, it’s hard to find a positive thing to focus on.
For those who may have been struggling with mental illness pre-pandemic, quarantine may have accelerated their symptoms. And this can have serious consequences if left untreated. This is especially true for veterans, who are one of the populations at the highest risk of self-harming behaviors and suicide. Veterans who already struggled with PTSD or other mental health conditions at the start of the coronavirus pandemic are at an even greater risk.
Veteran-Specific Mental Health Issues
Many veterans in the United States struggle with PTSD when they return home from active duty, as well as co-occurring mental health conditions like depression or anxiety. Veterans develop PTSD more frequently than the general population because they are exposed to a range of traumatic experiences during their service. Everything from combat exposure to natural disasters can be traumatizing for veterans and leave them struggling to cope with the emotional pain.
The symptoms of PTSD include:
- Flashbacks to the traumatic event
- Avoiding reminders of the traumatic event
- Persistent anxiety
- Changes in mood and behaviors
- Recurring negative thoughts
- Sleep difficulties
- Struggles with addiction
These symptoms can be quite challenging to manage without the right support and treatment. Untreated mental illness can lead to leaning on drugs or alcohol as a means to cope. And the more one relies on those, the worse their mental health symptoms get. This leads to co-occurring disorders: mental health issues and addiction issues that develop together and worsen each other.
A substance use disorder coupled with one or more mental health disorders can cause significant damage to your life. The process of recovery for those with dual diagnosis has to be medical, educational, and therapeutic in order to take root.
Mental Health Resources Near Cincinnati, Ohio
Here at Georgetown, we’re also offering help. Our treatment staff at our mental health facility, located near Cincinnati, have proudly served the Georgetown community for years, and our doors have always been open to those in need.
Our accredited inpatient mental health facility is experienced in treating post-traumatic stress disorder and related health issues. Specifically, our dual diagnosis program effectively treats any co-occurring substance abuse disorders. From trauma-focused cognitive-behavioral therapies to intensive outpatient programs and group therapies, we offer a full continuum of care. This means we will support you before, during, and after treatment.
If you suffer alcohol dependence or drug addiction, you need medically supervised detox first. This initial step into your dual diagnosis treatment ends your physical need for drugs or alcohol, for your brain to function normally. Once your brain starts managing its own chemical balance and your body is free of toxins, you feel ready for rehab treatment.
In rehab, your real recovery begins. This dual diagnosis program is where you learn about your co-occurring conditions and what makes them flare up. You gain help for your mental health problem in the same types of therapy as you gain for substance abuse recovery.
Your most important role at a dual diagnosis treatment center is that of learning about your co-occurring conditions and how to keep them under control. Learning coping skills, stress management strategies, and relapse prevention techniques while working with medical professionals and others with substance abuse issues is an important step in ensuring that the healthy changes you make here, stick.
Veteran Mental Help Is Available Today
At Georgetown Behavioral Hospital, we’re ready to help you get the best treatment possible for your mental illness. That’s why we offer a wide range of treatment options that can be tailored to your exact needs. Whether you’re a veteran struggling with PTSD or dual diagnosis issues, or simply somebody under stress who feels overwhelmed and could use some professional help, we’re dedicated to serving every member of our community the best we can.
Our adult mental health program provides intensive inpatient treatment for adults with mental health disorders in a safe, caring environment. Here, our team of mental health care professionals, counselors, doctors, psychotherapists, and nurses ensure that you receive the utmost care.
For those who aren’t in Ohio, but are curious about veteran-specific treatment programs to help themselves or their loved ones during these trying times, there are other excellent treatment centers in Florida and Las Vegas that cater specifically to the veteran community. Wherever you are, help is available.
Call us today at 937-483-4930 to speak with one of our admissions specialists. You can also contact us online by filling out our confidential online contact form. When you’re ready to take your first step towards treatment, we’ll be here to help put your best foot forward.