In honor of Veterans Day this year, Colorado-based healthcare company All Points North, or APN for short, released the results of a survey that found veterans (and their families) struggle with maintaining positive mental health. Highlights of the report were released via a press release on November 10th.
APN provides rehabilitation programs specifically designed for military veterans, with treatment centers in Colorado and California. In addition, there are virtual therapies through the company’s APN Connections app, available on iOS and Android.
The survey came to life through a collaboration between APN and research company Censuswide. The project asked more than a thousand military veterans, and it took almost a week and a half to complete. It lasted from the 5th to the 14th of October.
“We train our military before they go to war, now is the time to think seriously about how to train them to re-enter civilian life,” Noah Nordheimer, APN’s founder and CEO, said in a press release. “Veterans and their families face unique challenges and, as such, need tailored mental health care.” We believe that clients who have strong family involvement are more likely to make a sustained recovery, so we treat them as a unit.”
The results of the survey are grim. Among other figures, nearly half (45%) of respondents said they were not optimistic about improvement in the future, and 56% said their mental health struggles had a negative effect on their relationship with their partner. Many admitted to resorting to alcohol and other controlled substances at least once a week as a coping mechanism.
“The fact that 56% of veterans in civilian roles say their mental health affects their relationships at work doesn’t surprise me at all.” It really represents how difficult, if not impossible, it is for veterans to relate to “normal people” [who] I’ve never served in the military or have an understanding of what veterans go through, especially in the workplace,” veteran John Armor said in a statement provided to me. “I sought treatment at APN in an effort to overcome everyday obstacles like this and improve my overall mental health. I had an amazing treatment experience where I was matched with understanding providers and quickly given a treatment plan that was unique to me and perfect for my situation, which I think is key for people who feel like they can’t connect with someone else.”
Armor added that the data APN revealed, while depressing, is not surprising.
“As a veteran who has struggled with opioid use disorder and major depressive disorder, this data unfortunately makes a lot of sense to me. I would honestly expect more than 46% to consume controlled substances once a week to cope with civilian life. In terms of my own experience, I came to APN from another residential facility, where I had a bad experience and really struggled to find the help I needed. I was drawn to APNs because of their different types and customized approach to treatment. I stayed at APN for 30 days, during which I received a variety of treatments, from HBOT to deepTMS and even working with a personal trainer. I never felt like I was getting the same access as everyone else. [I wish I] sought treatment [with] APN before”.
Like the aging and senior communities, military veterans are often overlooked as people with disabilities who require accommodations. Make no mistake, mental health conditions are indeed disabilities. Also, services like those provided by the Department of Veterans Affairs are a form of accessibility in the purest sense of the word. This is important to point out because it serves as another example of the dynamics of accessibility. The thing about people with disabilities is that we find accessibility – or the lack of it – in almost every aspect of everyday life; technology is only one. We do this out of necessity and the primary need of people for survival.
APN’s full report can be downloaded from their website.