EUGENE, Ore. — For some veterans, it can be mentally challenging to adjust to civilian life after military experience.
Student vets at the University of Oregon say the mental health between veterans vary; some are just fine while others need the help, but not all people know about resources out there that can help.
For the second time in five years, a deadly shooting broke out at Fort Hood in Texas, leaving four people dead. Officials say they believe the shooter, Ivan Lopez, had undergone PTSD evaluations before but was not diagnosed.
University of Oregon student veteran, Cody Schmidt, says as a vet, addressing mental health is key to adjusting to life after service.
“Knowing your resources before you get out or shortly after you get out helps that transition so much,” says Schmidt.
Formerly serving in the Navy, Schmidt says keeping everything to himself wasn’t healthy, although he never suffered from any mental illnesses after his service.
“For a few years, I just lived with and internalized everything that had gone on and once I started to people and opening up to my friends and family, it really helped,” said Schmidt.
“We all need someone to talk to and the sad truth is some people don’t have that. Some vets don’t have that,” said Jason Davis, public information officer at Lane County Public Health.
Lane County Public Health says there are more than 30,000 vets in the county and their Veteran Services program help with everything from providing information about GI bills to finding help for mental issues.
“Think of a First-Aid kit, this thing that helps us out when we’re in a time of need physically. Our physical health isn’t so great so we have this thing we turn to in an emergency and what we’re really trying to advocate for and promote is this concept that your mental health is just as important as your physical health,” said Davis.
“One of the biggest problems is stress and having these resources just gets rid of that so immensely and finding out about the resources is a big key to getting the help that people need to get,” says Schmidt.
Public health says many of the people working in Veteran Services are also vets, so they can relate to those they help.
Over at UO, free counseling is offered at the health center and Schmidt says you can also talk to advisors at the veterans affairs office as well.