Due to the tremendous intensity of the labor service members have undertaken, guaranteeing improved results in the field of mental health for veterans is one of the significant healthcare goals. Military service, which can be carried out for decades, is a demanding job, in which there are substantial physical and emotional stresses on the body. In addition, this type of activity is associated with the presence of risks to life, especially when serving in places of active hostilities. Psychiatric and mental disorders, which can lead to suicide, are common sicknesses among service personnel and soldiers (Ghahramanlou-Holloway et al., 2018). Regardless of the fact that studies are limited to the United States of America veterans, significant prevalence rates of drug use disorder, 5.7%, and excessive alcohol use, 5.4%, were discovered in elder veterans (Williamson et al., 2018). The particular gap to be investigated is the lack of attention devoted to veterans’ mental well-being requirements, as well as the healthcare sphere’s insufficient capacity to treat such concerns. As a result, decreasing obstacles to mental health treatment is critical in minimizing disadvantages that disproportionately impact an already vulnerable segment of the population.
Considering the history of the gap in access to healthcare, it is feasible to state that the lack of attention dedicated to the army’s psychological health requirements stems from counselors’ poor awareness of what battle entails. During the past decades, veterans’ demand for mental health therapies that may help them recover from the trauma they experienced during war intensified (Williamson et al., 2018). Soldiers, on the other hand, faced additional hurdles, such as overcoming socioeconomic difficulties and reconstructing their families. The target population has also been affected by posttraumatic stress disorder among veterans. In contrast, unemployment and inadequate educational assistance were given more importance than counseling and mental health rehabilitation. However, even though a scarcity of studies investigating real career implications, researchers claim that service members assume obtaining mental health therapy will harm their professional military careers (Ghahramanlou-Holloway et al., 2018). Hence, the notion that few veterans seek treatment while they cope with other life concerns supports the lack of consideration of the topic, indicating that it has been building for decades. Inequities in psychotherapy for veterans have evolved historically due to postponing the rehabilitation of psychological well-being.
Despite the notion that military duty is supposed to build resilience in those who serve their country, mental health difficulties are common. Individuals participate in the army for a number of reasons, including patriotic motivations, monetary support, educational opportunities, and a family heritage of military service. War, on the other hand, is a multi-faceted experience that involves both emotional and physical stress. Suicide attackers and improvised explosive bombs and devices, which cause many injuries, are some of the concerns of the modern military. Veterans can feel isolated from the community once their duty is completed, and their career prospects are uncertain, limiting their standard of living and prospects. Veterans may also suffer from the effects of mental stress, which can include depression and a sense of loss of meaning in life. Veterans’ mental state should not be considered not serious, since a lack of understanding and knowledge about their requirements will exacerbate the situation. These socioeconomic circumstances impose a pressure on veterans’ mental health, with gaps in availability indicating that their necessities have not been addressed.
Gaps in psychological access to care lead to the growth of negative psychological disorders that have a severe impact on the target population. Even though many services have been established to help military people adapt to civilian life, there are comparatively few options available for spouses, children, and extended family systems (Sherman & Larsen, 2018). In terms of personnel and human resources, the healthcare provided to the people is also restricted, which might help veterans recover their mental health. The scarcity of professionals who would work to provide high-quality psychiatric care services can reflect a demand and supply disproportion in overall veteran health care. Difficulties of mental health, such as mental illness, stress disorder and depression, can exacerbate the general negative influence on physical sickness. Veteran communities are seeking and will continue to pursue psychological treatment in public sector environments due to a number of challenges and constraints for family-based therapy in the Veterans Affairs medical system (Sherman & Larsen, 2018). The deterioration of veterans’ physical and mental health emphasizes the urgent need to establish effective methods to balance healthcare demand and supply.
The appropriate management of psychological health and well-being among veterans is supposed to ensure a high standard of living as well as numerous prospects for growth and progress. Many of the incoming veterans have recently served in combat, and others are dealing with the effects of battle exposure, separation from family, and reintegration pressures (Sherman & Larsen, 2018). These obstacles typically accompany these military families when they transition to civilian life, which comes with its own set of substantial career, social, and interpersonal adjustments (Sherman & Larsen, 2018). By getting acquainted with the resources and leaning on them while dealing with transitioning service members, community caregivers may improve their military culture competency (Sherman & Larsen, 2018). If left untreated, the gap in mental care may hinder veterans’ ability to be productive in work or educational settings. Furthermore, factors including memories, flashbacks, bad mood, and attention difficulties can be potentially linked to unfavorable outcomes of not developing mental health services for veterans.
Existing initiatives, such as supported by the American Public Health Association and the Department of Veterans Affairs, strive to give medical benefits to those who have been discharged from the military and removed from duty. Intervention, mental health as a full aspect of medical care, responsibility in welfare programs, and non-discriminatory inclusion of all mental therapy for veterans are among the propositions and solutions encompassed by the organizations’ efforts (U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs, 2022). To accommodate the expanding number of veterans requesting mental health treatment, the Department of Veterans Affairs has dedicated additional personnel, programs, and budgets to psychological health services in recent years (U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs, 2022). Thus, the collaboration of the American Public Health Association and the Department of Veterans Affairs created a set of solutions to increase the amount of support and help.
Concerning the specific goals of the existing initiative in place to address this gap in access, it is feasible to emphasize personnel development, education, and technology implementation. The aim of the Department of Veterans Affairs effort is to change the degree of qualification for health and mental care services in order to increase coverage (U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs, 2022). Via competence in health care, welfare care, education, and technology, the initiative aims to preserve and develop the psychological health and well-being of the service members (U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs, 2022). Another objective of the effort is to increase the retention of health care workers by minimizing compassion stress and burnout, which inhibits their ability to provide effective care to vulnerable groups. This aim is significant since it tackles the issue of employee assistance and its beneficial impact on their productivity. The more competent the team, the better the chances of verifying that veterans’ mental health results are improved.
Considering the circumstances around the development of the existing initiative, it is possible to emphasize more than a decade of development. In 2011, the Department of Veterans Affairs offered specialist mental health treatment to almost 1.3 million service members suffering from psychological health disorders (U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs, 2022). With the help of the utilization of 300 veterans’ facilities, the Veterans Distress Line, and the incorporation of mental health programs into primary care, the Department of Veterans Affairs offered multiple access points to treatment (U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs, 2022). Starting August 2007, the Veterans Crisis Line has extended to encompass a messaging platform and a texting alternative for approaching the crisis center (U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs, 2022). With extended clinic hours, telehealth mental competence to deliver treatments, and criteria that guarantee timely access to mental health care, the institution has improved availability (U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs, 2022). On several mental health policies and programs, it collaborated tightly with the Department of Defense (U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs, 2022). Hence, the development of the initiative was connected to the technological growth and enhanced access to innovations.
Due to challenges linked with potential rates of worker turnover, veterans can also suffer gaps in mental health treatment availability. The Department of Veterans Affairs, including other institutions working to help veterans manage their psychological condition, have set an objective to expand service coverage. However, the resources required to achieve the objectives of projects are limited. Personnel and competent people are the first type of resources required. Emotional exhaustion and burnout among healthcare personnel who provide services to a vulnerable group must be reduced. As a result, a persistent lack of non-human and human factors that could facilitate the delivery of successful treatments is attributed to gaps in psychological healthcare access.
The financial resources are the initiative’s second type of capabilities that are needed for the effective implementation of the program. The group’s economic stress leads them to suffer from not only mental health challenges, but also substance dependence, addiction, and greater mortality rates (Williamson et al., 2018). Therefore, the issue of low-income veterans not being able to obtain good care should be addressed by extending mental health coverage in current healthcare plans.
With monetary incentives and the introduction of subsidies, the national government may contribute to attracting and keeping mental health practitioners. Since financial incentives can be effective in placing physicians in underprivileged communities, they are a valuable element and resource for the project. The Department of Veteran Affairs’ financial involvement is particularly critical since it allows academic research on moral harm, military structure, and military trauma to be supported.
Due to the fact that veterans would have to raise their financial spending on treatments and services, the measures that have been established and applied do not satisfy the needed improvement. Since it is not possible to cover all military members for free, the Department of Veterans Affairs plan must be improved. As a result of the problem, many American veterans who are suffering from mental health issues are unable to obtain healthcare insurance or pay for therapies on their own. The effort is constrained by a shortage of employees and high turnover rates owing to compassion fatigue. This issue needs substantial financial assistance to guarantee that veterans obtain the degree of mental healthcare coverage that they demand and that there is sufficient staffing. Furthermore, the effort is not well-publicized, making it difficult for veterans to learn about it and makemake use of the resources provided to them.
The stated ineffectiveness of present strategies for dealing with gaps in psychological health care access necessitates the issue’s regulation. Electronic health and telemedicine technology, for example, are employed to assist veterans in overcoming mental health issues. This solution’s significance can be proved by the fact that it overcomes the gap between veterans and network operators and providers. It is accomplished by the use of basic technologies that will aid in the refinement of interactions, the development of new services, and the promotion of increased awareness. Individuals and care professionals can use electronic health tools ranging from online chat communities for therapeutic assistance to one-on-one conversations (U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs, 2022). The technologies can provide advice on symptom control, which is critical for long-term mental health therapy. As a result, due to their broad application in many circumstances, programs including technology are critical for developing a larger coverage of psychological health assistance for veterans.
In order to overcome disparities in healthcare access equality, a review of scheduling and employment methods for healthcare workers is required. The decision to create and deploy a modern treatment consultation scheduling system is a step forward in the veterans’ treatment and rehabilitation management paradigm. Information simplification will not only make it easier to plan appointments, but it will also give vital information for the long-term preservation of continuous innovations and upgrades.
The suggested set of regulations will need to be addressed on a national scale. Every region and area should have resources to assist veterans with mental health conditions, especially when significant difficulties arise, such as suicidal behaviors due to homelessness or sadness. Furthermore, the highlighted deficiencies in employee training, turnover, and scheduling necessitate a multifaceted strategy to resolve the problems. Since veterans have accessibility gaps across the country, a cohesive national plan that includes every state and healthcare provider is required.
To summarize, currently, veterans do not obtain the appropriate level of mental health treatment that they need. The Department of Veterans Affairs has made efforts to address the underlying psychological issues that veterans face as a result of being exposed to intense and dangerous experiences. At the same time, it is critical to emphasize the presence of drawbacks. Veterans encounter a variety of barriers when considering discussing their mental health needs, ranging from unpredictable personnel turnover owing to compassion fatigue to limits in qualification for services within the program. While the suggested initiatives provide some answers to promote the reduction of access and service gaps, a full evaluation of current efforts is required. Visiting and interviewing veterans and learning about their solutions to the problem should be prioritized. The proposed set of rules will need to be implemented on a national level. Every region should possess services to help veterans with mental health issues, especially when serious issues occur, such as suicide conduct resulting from homelessness or despair. Furthermore, the flaws in staff training, turnover, and scheduling that have been identified demand a broad approach to fixing the issues.
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Sherman, M. D., & Larsen, J. L. (2018). Family-focused interventions and resources for veterans and their families. Psychological Services, 15(2), 146–153. Web.
U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs. (2022). Veterans and mental health. Web.
Williamson, V., Stevelink, S. A., Greenberg, K., & Greenberg, N. (2018). Prevalence of mental health disorders in elderly US military veterans: a meta-analysis and systematic review. The American Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry, 26(5), 534-545. Web.