When you have a loved one who is a veteran, it isn’t easy to know how exactly to help them create a new life after the service. Whether you are married to a veteran or are the sibling of one, you are often dealing with someone who has experienced things beyond your pay grade. There are services for veterans around the country, but many organizations are understaffed and underfunded. Veterans across the country are struggling in many ways, but it doesn’t have to be that way. Below are five ways to help the veteran in your life.
Help Them with Their Benefits
There are a lot of resources for veterans, but often the bureaucracy is difficult to deal with. With complicated forms, long lines, and volunteers, it can be hard to get through the process. One great way to help the veteran in your life is to facilitate the benefits process. Help them fill out forms. Give them suggestions on what they need to do and how they can do it. Provide answers to questions. This is especially helpful when the person has seen combat, is struggling with mental health, or has been injured. There are many situations where the veteran needs the assistance of a civilian like yourself to get through the bureaucracy and confusion that are the veteran’s benefits organizations.
Give Them Housing
Do you have an extra room in your house? Do you have a condo that isn’t rented out? Do you have space for a person in need? Veterans don’t all need housing, but there is a significant amount of them who do. It’s an investment in their future. There are thousands of Vietnam veterans who are living in a very different world than they once lived in. Their trauma is unimaginable. Their mental health could be in jeopardy. They could be using alcohol or drugs to cope. No one is saying that you should sacrifice your well-being, but if you are able to provide the veteran with housing, it will help them gain some stability in their life.
Provide Vocational Prospects
It isn’t just that veterans have a hard time finding jobs—they are often highly skilled and educated—it’s that they don’t have a calling compared to what they used to do. Everyone needs a purpose, and if we don’t have one life is much more difficult. When a veteran was in combat, they couldn’t see beyond the moment. Now, they are expected to conform to a life that is far from what they imagined. Whoever the veteran is in your life, it’s worth talking to them about their vocational prospects. Will they go to school? Will they find a job using their hands? Is there something they can do that utilizes their skills? Whatever the case and whoever the person, there is a rewarding and fulfilling position for them to fill in society. Help them find career opportunities.
Encourage Mental Health & Addiction Treatment
There are much too many veterans who are struggling with mental health and addiction. It makes sense. Some of them have been through things we can’t even imagine. They have seen a lot in their life. They have been in dire situations. When someone has seen combat, the possibility that they will end up with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is very high. So many veterans self-medicate with drugs and alcohol. When the veteran in your life needs legitimate mental health or addiction treatment, you can help them find the help that they need and transcend the suffering they’ve experienced. Sometimes it takes a helping hand and a caring person.
There are thousands upon thousands of veterans in this country who have not been given their fair shake. Whether the person needs housing, a purpose, or treatment for mental health or addiction, there is likely a way that you can help. If there is someone in your life who has seen combat and is struggling to acclimate into society, be patient. Show them love and care. Helping the veteran in your life can be the difference between a life wasted and a life of fulfillment. It could be your assistance that helps them deal with everything in their lives to live a better, happier, and more productive existence.