Don't Look Away: The Responsibility of Civilian Providers in Addressing the Behavioral Health of America's Veterans
As of September 2022, approximately 18.5 million veterans lived in the United States, with 14.4 million of them seeing wartime service. With the demand for mental health for the veteran population growing by 90% in the reporting period from 2016-2020, the need for competent services in the mental health and substance use space have quickly overwhelmed the capacity of the Department of Veteran's Affair. Historically, partnerships between the private sector, the goverment, and NGO service organizations have shown to be beneficial. However, work accross these sectors has not flourished in the behavioral healthcare space. As a free and open soceity, the civilan population enjoys the benefits of having a strong and nimble militay. BUT, does soceity fully understand and/or acknowledge the impact of military service on the individuals who make up the core of the warrior class? further, what is our responsbility as civilian advocates for access to mental health and substance use treatment should we commit to fully considering veteran's in conversation about underserved populations?