Thousands of veterans are returning home each month and transitioning back to civilian life. For many, this includes going back to college or taking college courses. As they reintegrate into the routines of civilian life, special attention should be paid to easing the transition process and providing a supportive environment. Dr. Victor Schwartz, medical director of the Jed Foundation, a leading not-for-profit organization dedicated to promoting emotional health and preventing suicide among college students, answers a few questions regarding the mental health and transitional issues many U.S. veterans face and what college campuses are doing to address the issue.
Q: Is mental health and/or suicide an issue among military veterans returning to college?
A: Many veterans coming to college show great maturity, discipline, motivation and focus. Nevertheless, a significant number of returning veterans have reported mental health challenges. These “hidden injuries of war” are not surprising given the challenges of serving in a combat zone. It is important that veterans struggling with emotional health issues get the support they need, as unaddressed problems can lead to serious consequences like substance abuse or suicide. With the right support and treatment, veterans dealing with mental health issues can still have a smooth transition and a healthy future. <Read the rest of the interview.>