Manley column: Start the conversation about mental health treatment


Bringing up mental health with a veteran loved one can be challenging —sometimes, even the thought of it is stressful.

How will your loved ones react? What is the best way to open up?

There is no one-size-fits-all answer. Every situation is unique, whether a veteran returned home years ago or is transitioning from recent service. Fortunately, the Veterans Administration provides resources that could help you start the conversation about mental health treatment.

Take a look at a few ways to start a conversation. Which way offers a strong starting point for communicating positively with the veteran in your life.

Find a story that you and your veteran love one relates to on, and watch the video together. For veterans, real stories of recovery from their peers can offer encouragement and motivation from trusted sources.

Hearing from someone from the same military branch or conflict where they served, or who worked through the same kinds of challenges after service, can feel comfortable and familiar. It’s like chatting with a battle buddy. Being able to relate to other veterans realize that they are not alone and that treatment worked for someone just like them.

As a veteran’s family member or friend, you may find it hard to understand what exactly your loved one is going through, especially if he or she is reluctant to open up.

The stories on can also be a powerful tool to help you recognize common challenges among veterans and get a better sense of what they may be experiencing. You can find stories specific to:

• Service era.

• Military branch.

• Signs and symptoms, such as stress and anxiety, alcohol or drug problems, or anger.

• Mental health conditions, such as PTSD, depression, or effects of traumatic brain injury.

• Life events and experiences, such as transitioning from service, retirement, or legal issues.

Hearing fellow veterans talk about their recovery can make it easier for a veteran to take the first step toward treatment. If the veteran in your life is ready, set a few minutes aside to watch a video together.

“At the end of a day, family is what matters. Be strong. Be supportive. Be real.”

My next column will show ways two and three on How to Start a Conversation About Mental Health Treatments.

By Phyllis Manley

Contributing columnist

For questions or general concerns for women veterans, you can contact Manley at [email protected].

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