Challenges in Veteran Mental Health Care

  • How has this topic influenced the care you will provide to this population? Why?
    • The topic of veteran research influenced the care I will provide to this population because it provided an understanding of mental health issues that people deal with after being in the military. It is due to the fact that the evidence presented by the American Psychological Association (n.d.), Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (2016), and National Veteran Foundation (2017) give a cohesive explanation of psychical and mental injuries that these people may have.
  • What cultural implications are associated with this specialty population?
    • Several cultural implications are associated with this population. The American Psychological Association (n.d.) states that traumatic brain injury and post-traumatic stress disorder are common among this population, while, according to the National Veterans Foundation (2016), substance abuse is common among veterans. Thus, mental health and cognitive functioning are the primary concerns that a medical professional should address when working with veterans.
  • What resources are available in your community for this population? What gaps in service do you see? What can be done to address these gaps?
    • Organizations aimed at helping veterans establish initiatives that support veterans. Recourses that are available to this community include the Service Members, Veterans, and their Families Technical Assistance (SMVF TA) Center (Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, 2017). This establishment cooperates with local authorities to improve the existing approaches to care provided to veterans. In particular, this organization is concerned with substance abuse and behavioral issues that can affect this population. The gaps in service include support for families of deployed military personnel. It is because the American Psychological Association (n.d.) states that approximately one-third of kids with at least one deployed parent suffer from psychological issues. An organization that would provide emotional support to these children should be established to address this problem.
  • What more do you need to know in order to best serve this population as a PMHNP?
    • As a PMHNP, I need to have sufficient knowledge of mental health issues such as depression, substance abuse, post-traumatic stress, and injuries such as brain trauma or others, which affect veterans.

Research about Veterans

The population of veterans in the US experiences a variety of difficulties upon returning to non-military life. While combats can cause severe physical trauma, articles by Olenick, Flowers, and Diaz (2015) and Brown and Jones (2016) emphasize that attention should be dedicated to mental health issues associated with war operations because they can have an adverse impact on a person’s life. This paper aims to examine the particular problems that are prevalent within the veteran community and research that can help improve health care services provided to them.

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It is necessary to conduct more in-depth research that would help prevent severe mental health disorders to improve the understanding of the veteran population and approaches that can help enhance health care services provided to them. The article by Blodgett et al. (2015) examines the particular mental health issues that usually affect the veterans, and the authors state that many of them have “experienced at least one traumatic event, and many have post-traumatic stress disorder” (p. 163). Additionally, depression and substance abuse are common conditions as well. Similar conclusions were made by Olenick et al. (2015) and Brown and Jones (2016) who in their articles argue that veterans require a specific approach due to their unique experiences.

For instance, Olenick et al. (2015) mention that military professionals have an enhanced understanding of their duty and obedience, which has implications for healthcare providers. In addition, Brenan (2017) states that the events experienced during deployment have lifelong consequences for many veterans. Thus, the researchers suggest that veterans deal with complex problems due to the nature of their work.

Considering the implications of military service described above, it is necessary to identify treatment practices that can be used when working with veterans. Olenick et al. (2015), Brown and Jones (2016), and Brenan (2017) suggest paying specific attention to suicidal tendencies that people within this population have, regardless of their age. These researchers suggest that many military professionals use the coping mechanism of avoiding traumatic memories. Thus, the examined research is relevant to the veteran population because it examines evidence-based data regarding mental health issues that affect these people and suggests strategies that medical professionals can use to help them.


The research examined above will influence my practice because the authors conducted an extensive investigation of the specific mental health problems that the veteran population has. Thus, I will apply this knowledge and dedicate particular attention to ensuring that the diagnosis process considers the implications of military service on one’s mental health. This means that issues, such as post-traumatic stress, depression, and suicidal tendencies will be addressed when working with such patients. In addition, these articles provide an understanding of coping mechanisms that help veterans deal with traumatic memories.

However, the strategy of avoidance is usually not sufficient when considering long-term mental health, as is suggested by Olenick et al. (2015). Thus, a medical professional should be prepared to provide support and introduce other coping mechanisms to veterans. Additionally, I would want to read more works on specific veteran populations such as women or transgender population that can help me gain an in-depth understanding of problems that affect them, which would improve my practice.


Overall, this paper examined the veteran population and the implications of issues that affect them, which health care professionals should know. The research that can improve one’s knowledge on the topic is dedicated to the prevention of mental health disorders in this population and coping strategies for specific conditions. By examining this problem, medical personnel will be able to work with military employees to improve their psychological well-being and ensure that they can overcome their trauma.

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Blodgett, J. C., Avoundjian, T., Finlay, A. K., Rosenthal, J., Asch, S. M., Maisel, N. C., & Midboe, A. M. (2015). Prevalence of mental health disorders among justice-involved veterans. Epidemiologic Reviews, 37(1), 163–176. Web.

Brennan, M. B. (2017). Challenges in veteran mental health care: What’s not talked about? Web.

Brown, G. R., & Jones, K. T. (2016). Mental health and medical health disparities in 5135 transgender veterans receiving healthcare in the veteran’s health administration: A case-control study. LGBT Health, 3(2), 122-131. Web.

Olenick, M., Flowers, M., & Diaz, V. J. (2015). US veterans and their unique issues: enhancing health care professional awareness. Advances in Medical Education and Practice, 6, 635-639. Web.

American Psychological Association. (n.d.). The mental health needs of veterans, service members and their families. Web.

National Veterans Foundation. (2016). Troubling veteran mental health facts and statistics that need to be addressed. Web.

Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. (2017). Veterans and military families. Web.

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