Honoring & Supporting Veterans Today
Every year on this day we honor our Veterans who have served this country and made it safe for all of us. They have given their time, passion and sometimes health and life to allow us to live safely and freely. So, let me start by thanking them for their service and honoring their sacrifice.
But it is not enough to just honor them. If we ask them to serve our country, then we should also be prepared to provide them with the support they need and deserve. To not only survive but thrive while in active service and after they finish their service to our country. I want to be clear that we do already have things in place to support them like student assistance for school, small business and business loans, job training, free or low-cost medical care through VA hospitals and medical facilities for their medical needs, veteran’s pension programs, disability compensation and counseling. However, I want to focus on the last item I mentioned; counseling.
Serving in the military can be stressful especially when serving in a combat situation. But even in non-combat situations, adjusting to life after the military can also provide challenges. That is what counseling for our military personnel and their families should provide. Assisting and supporting our service men and women as much as possible while they serve and once their service is completed. Here are a few things that would help.
1. From enlistment through discharge, seeking and receiving counseling should be encouraged and even mandatory. I know that sounds a bit “heavy-handed”, but we do it on the medical side. What is wrong with providing mental health assessments like we provide physicals? This will help those in the service feel that this is not only normal but expected. Instead of a check-up, we can call them check-ins.
2. Spend time on training officers and NCOs on how to talk about mental health, help NORMALIZE it and de-stigmatize it. It would also be helpful to build mental health first aid and stress reduction into all forms of training including basic training. That could include mindfulness training, yoga and other forms of stress reduction techniques.
3. Provide on-going psycho-educational groups to all military personnel from recruitment to retirement. Building this into the normal operations of the military would further de-stigmatize the negative perception of therapy. This should be made available to all levels of military personnel throughout the ranks regardless of station.
4. Provide mental health assessments and recommendations upon discharge so that their adjustment and transition to life after service can be smoother. Again, I would recommend possibly making this mandatory.
5. Ensure that medical benefits offered to all military personnel stress’s behavioral health as well physical health. This would include providing options to seek counseling from non-military facilities (i.e., private practitioners). This would reinforce the normalcy of seeking and getting help for emotional issues or distress. Further, it would make it easier for those with any fears of confidentiality to get the help they need.
These recommendations may sound like a lot. But by sacrificing themselves for our country, don’t we want to honor those sacrifices by providing our service men and women with the support they deserve?
For more information on counseling services for veterans, please contact our staff by calling 866.296.5262.
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We invite you to check out the third video in our mini series, Clinical Conversations during COVID-19. Join therapists Chris Tennant and Raquel Ornelas as they discuss the changing dynamics and challenges of romantic relationships during COVID-19. We hope you find this conversation helpful and ask that you share it with others who may need the guidance and support.
At Perspectives Counseling & Psychotherapy Centers, our goal is to provide you with counseling in a compassionate and understanding manner. We have experienced and caring professional counselors who will work with you to understand the nature of your problems and develop a personalized plan to assist you. Our counselors are committed to creating a safe and secure environment in which you can feel supported. We help individuals, couples and families discover new ways of living happier, healthier and more productive lives.
For more than 30 years, our highly trained, professional counselors have been providing high quality counseling and psychotherapy services to individuals, couples and families in the Chicagoland area.
At Perspectives, our goal is to help you not only find solutions to life's problems, but also to enrich your life, strengthen your relationships, and help you achieve your... long-term goals.
Dennis Delfosse, LCPC
Mary Ann Dier-Zimmermann, LCPC Bernie Dyme, LCSW, President
Phyllis Greenbaum, LCSW
Tom Jacobs, LCPC
Danielle Jones, LCSW
Jeff Lewis, LCPC
Paulina Malysko, LCPC
Loren Morris, LCPC
Nikki Nelson, LCSW
Raquel Ornelas, LCPC, Clinical Dir .
Gary Schochet, LCSW,BCD
Jill Shiner, LCSW
Shu-Han Su, LPC
Christopher Tennant, LSW
• Perspectives' very own Shu-Han Su, LPC featured in the Association for Child & Adolescent Counseling in Illinois