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4 Reasons for Veterans to See a Military Social Worker Before Returning to the Workforce

Military to Civilian Transition

Veterans returning to the workforce for the first time after serving in the military may find they have a difficult time adjusting. Veterans and their families face a unique set of challenges when it comes to care and support. After serving, many veterans find themselves trying to cope with psychological and physical effects of the military. Some vets will have the added pressure of a financial strain. Veterans and their families that find themselves struggling after their service may benefit from meeting with a military social worker.

What is a Military Social Worker?
A military social worker is responsible for helping veterans, and active-duty service members cope with their psychological and emotional disorders. They are trained to assist veterans suffering from abuse, addiction, suicidal thoughts, and even domestic violence. These social workers can develop and implement health and disease prevention programs.

4 Reasons to See a Military Social Worker

1. Military Social Workers are Specifically Trained to Work with Veterans
Social workers are responsible for helping people cope with problems in their everyday lives. For example, family social workers are specially trained to support children and families during their time of need. Clinical social workers can diagnose and treat behavioral, mental, and emotional problems. However, these types of social workers are not trained to address the problems and circumstances specific to veterans.

Many military social workers are highly qualified with extensive training backgrounds and a Master’s Degree in Social Work. Often, military social workers will spend time in their respective military branch of expertise, such as the Army’s Medical Service Corps. Seeing a social worker that has experience in working with veterans ensures that the professional understands the military culture and subculture that influences their patient.

2. Military Social Workers Can Help with Mental Health
Military social workers are trained to support patients and their families with a variety of issues on either a short-term or long-term basis. They can help veterans overcome barriers such as alcoholism, stress, and trauma from the military, mental illness, physical disabilities, financial instability, and even common disorders such as seasonal affective disorder. Seasonal affective disorder, or SAD, is a form of depression that comes and goes with seasons. It can affect anyone, particularly those that have experienced trauma or are prone to depression. In fact, nearly 20% of all cases of depression tend to follow a seasonal pattern. The disorders and issues treated by military social workers can be caused by a combination of factors from civilian or military life.

3. Seeing a Social Military Worker Can Help Overcome a Culture Clash
Veterans often come home from their time serving in the military to a culture clash. This clash can be short-lived or last a lifetime. When attempting to join the workforce again, this clash can be jarring and a difficult hurdle to overcome. There is often a stigma with seeing a mental health professional that prevents some veterans from seeking help. However, enlisting the aid of a military social worker can help veterans overcome obstacles. Veterans suffering from a range of disorders, stress, and trauma should not attempt to go back to work without seeking help first.

4. The VA Funds Various Social Worker Programs
The United States Department of Veterans Affairs, otherwise known as the VA, is a federal agency that provides health care to eligible veterans. The VA is the single largest employer of social workers nationwide and employs approximately 11,000 social workers. The VA understands the complex and unique challenges of veterans returning home from service. They fund multiple departments to address these issues. The social workers provided by the VA assist veterans with various emotional and mental health issues. They do so in both a primary care setting and in homeless shelters that support veterans. Veterans looking for support should consult with the VA to find out what military social worker resources are available to them.

How to Find a Military Social Worker For You
Whether a veteran has recently returned home and is looking to start their first job outside of the military or if they have been home for years and find themselves still having difficulty adjusting, seeking the help of a military social worker can be extremely beneficial. Military social workers are trained and well-qualified to assist with the unique challenges veterans face when rejoining society and attempting to begin their careers outside of the military. Veterans should contact the VA to discover what resources and military social workers are available to them. It’s never too late to enlist the help of a social worker for your health.

If you have comments or feedback about any article, please email your thoughts to info@acp-advisornet.org.

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