There are many people in the community who have a desire to help veterans. They want to ease their burden or repay them for their service and sacrifice. And while there are many good people giving back to veterans and helping them lead a better life, the only people who can truly understand how to help vets are vets themselves. They have an understanding of the unique position veterans share and can not only provide assistance with things they need now, they also know where they came from.
Those who have been in the military share a camaraderie. They are able to trust one another and they know how to bring understanding and motivation to their fellow service members. Not only are they have to provide tangible assistance, they can also lend an ear and offer emotional support when needed.
What are the benefits of veterans helping veterans and what are some of the things that can be accomplished when vets work as a team?
As much as people try, someone who has never been in the military cannot understand what military life is like. This is especially true for individuals who have been in combat. Non-combat military members struggle to understand what combat vets go through, let along civilians who have never even in been in the military. The bottom line? People can try to understand and help a combat vet, but they’ll just never get it, try as they might.
One of the situations in which this understanding can pay off the most is when a vet is dealing with post-traumatic stress. PTSD is common among vets and it can be difficult for someone suffering to find the understanding they need to help them cope. Speaking to another vet, whether that person is actually a therapist or just a volunteer or friend who’s had similar experiences can make a big difference in the life of a vet who is facing tough times.
Sometimes, it’s easier for a vet to accept help from another vet. Even those who did not know one another previously share trust because they of their shared experiences. It’s easier for a vet to bond with another vet and because they are starting their relationship from a place of understanding and respect. It’s tougher to establish this trust when you feel as if there is so much someone can’t understand about you or your frame of mind. This trust can be an important factor in helping a vet who is struggling better manage their issues.
Despite one vet providing help and the other receiving assistance, both parties actually benefit. Giving back can be extremely rewarding. This is especially true for someone who’s been there.
Look at it this way: If you struggled with something at one point in life and later, you’re able to provide another person with the assistance you can have used at one time or you were given that assistance and you know how much it helped, how would you feel? Probably pretty fantastic! That’s how veterans who are helping other vets feel. They’re the ones providing the service, but in knowing how much their efforts are needed, they can feel rewarded for what they do. It gives them a purpose and creates a cycle of benefits.
Studies have even show that veterans benefit when they help other veterans. Helping other people is therapeutic and a vet who doesn’t even realize that he or she is struggling can benefit from giving to another.
What are Some Ways Veterans Can Help Other Veterans?
Veterans can provide assistance to other veterans in a number of different ways.
Sometimes, it’s as simple as lending an ear every so often and giving a vet someone to talk to. Other times, a little more is required. A vet can help another vet readjust to civilian life or overcome struggles he or she might be experiencing. The base of trust and understanding that is established from the beginning of the relationship can make it much easier to deal with the challenges vets face once they are no longer living life in the military.
Help with Everyday Tasks
One of the simplest and most needed ways vets can help vets is with daily life. Many vets, especially older ones, face challenges on a daily basis with regular life activities. It can be easier for them to accept assistance from other vets, as opposed to people without that understanding, even if those people are their own relatives. Someone who wants to help a vet can volunteer to assist with chores around the home, hygiene activities, grocery shopping and meal prep, or anything else that is part of a vet’s daily routine.
Transitioning from Military to Civilian Life
Another way a vet can help another vet is with a process that is unique to military members: transitioning from that life to civilian life.
This can be an especially difficult time for a vet. They’ve lived their life a certain way for years and had experiences that will affect every aspect of their daily life. Easing back into a civilian way of living can be tough, especially those suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder or service-connected disabilities and require long-term care. However, it’s easier when there is someone there to help. This help can range from dealing with the emotions of the transition to finding a job or a place to live.
All vets have been there and it’s a tougher transition for some than others. When there’s someone there to help the transition can be much easier.
Coping with Challenges
Vets face a higher risk for mental health issues. Some military members might be pre-disposed to challenges and their time in the service aggravates existing issues. In other cases, combat causes vets to struggle with their emotions for the rest of their lives.
Knowing there is someone there to providing support and understanding can go a long way in easing the mental health burdens many vets face. It can make the ups and downs of life with a mental health challenge much easier, even if a cure is not possible.