top of page
Search
  • Writer's pictureChristopher Zambakari

Supporting Our Heroes: The Importance of Mental Health Services for Veterans with PTSD

Updated: Mar 11

Dr. Christopher Zambakari, B.S., MBA, M.I.S., LP.D. Owner/Operator; Desert Haven Home Care, Apollo Residential Assisted Living, Villa Fiore Assisted Living-Prescott Valley


 

Under a single home care umbrella, Desert Haven Home Care, Apollo Residential Assisted Living, and Villa Fiore Assisted Living-Prescott feature unparalleled care, feature unparalleled care, service and advocacy in the compassionate treatment of senior citizens in need of medical attention. Offered in a familial setting, the facilities are teamed by professionals passionate about their work and fully engaged in the welfare of residents. Each facility proudly provides patient-centric supervisory, assisted and directed care, short-term respite stays and memory care support for Alzheimer’s and dementia patients.


The following brief on mental health services and U.S. military veterans is one in a series of regular informational blogs relative to the field of service, care and the treatment of our elderly.

 

Veterans who have served our country often face unique challenges upon returning home. Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), substance abuse, chronic ailments and suicide take the lives of our military heroes each and every day. Mental health services for veterans is critical to addressing such mental health challenges, playing a critical role in providing support and healing for those affected by the invisible wounds of war.


As the owner and operator of three Arizona-based residential assisted living settings – Desert Haven Home Care in Phoenix, Apollo Residential Assisted Living in Glendale, and Villa Fiore Assisted Living-Prescott Valley – and my work with senior-aged veterans, I am familiar with the mental health landscape in our great state, and I am familiar with the toll these challenges take – in particular, PTSD – on our military service members.


Of special concern is the availability of care and attention for those returning home from service. I am happy to share with you these thoughts on the subject, one that should be of regard to all of us. This article explores mental health services available to veterans suffering from PTSD and highlights key ways to improve access to mental healthcare for this deserving population.


Credit: RDNE Stock project / Pexels

The importance of mental health services for veterans with PTSD

  1. Addressing the impact of trauma. Veterans with PTSD often experience a wide range of debilitating symptoms, including flashbacks, nightmares, anxiety and depression. The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs reports that as many as 7 of 100 veterans will suffer from PTSD; in the general population the figure is 6 of 100. Female veterans suffer on a 13-of-100 scale, while males’ numbers are 6 of 100. (Numbers are difficult to pinpoint, and it should be noted here that the Wounded Warrior Project posits as many as 1 in three veterans suffer from PTSD.) PTSD can be successfully treated, meaning it’s never too late to get help. Mental health services offer specialized interventions and therapies tailored to address the specific needs of individuals with PTSD, promoting healing and recovery. Among the two most common are talking therapies and medicine.

  2. Enhancing overall well-being. Mental health directly impacts overall well-being, and access to appropriate care is crucial for veterans to lead fulfilling lives beyond their military service. Mental health services provide necessary support to manage symptoms, develop coping strategies, and improve quality of life for veterans and their families.

Interactive programs, rehabilitative retreats and professional services are a few of the many ways mental health services help build veterans’ resilience by addressing the invisible wounds of military service.


Key ways to improve access to mental healthcare services for veterans:

  1. Expanding specialized services. To meet the unique needs of veterans with PTSD, it is essential to expand specialized mental health services specifically designed for this population. This includes increasing the number of mental health professionals trained in evidence-based PTSD treatments, such as cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) and Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR).

  2. Collaborative care models. Integrating mental health services into veteran healthcare systems and facilities promotes a collaborative approach. By involving primary care providers, psychiatrists, psychologists and social workers in coordinated care teams, veterans receive comprehensive support that addresses both their physical and mental health needs.

  3. Telehealth and virtual care. Technology plays a vital role in improving access to mental healthcare services for veterans, particularly those living in rural areas or facing mobility challenges. Telehealth platforms allow veterans to receive therapy, counseling and medication management remotely, ensuring they can access care from the comfort of their homes.

The above is the tip of the iceberg. Much can – and should – be done for our military veterans who have sacrificed so much on behalf of our freedoms. The VA, Wounded Warrior Project, Home Base Veteran and Family Care, and the Arizona Coalition for Military Families are among the many organizations offering veterans professional assistance and guidance.


Ensuring access to mental health services is a critical responsibility we owe to our veterans. By recognizing the importance of mental healthcare for veterans suffering from PTSD and other debilitating challenges, and through the implementation of strategies to improve access, we can make a positive impact on their lives. Through the expansion of specialized services, collaborative care models and the use of telehealth, we can enhance access to mental healthcare services for veterans, providing them with the support they deserve.


It is our duty to advocate for increased resources, funding and awareness to ensure that all veterans have access to the mental health services they need to heal, recover and thrive in their post-military lives. Our veterans deserve nothing less than the best mental health support as a token of our gratitude for their service and sacrifice.


For more information, you can reach me or one of my team at info@deserthavenaz.com


 

About the Author

Dr. Christopher Zambakari is the owner and operator of three Arizona-based assisted living care homes – Desert Haven Home Care in Phoenix, Apollo Residential Assisted Living in Glendale, and Villa Fiore Assisted Living in Prescott Valley, Arizona. He provides direction and oversight to a team of licensed medical and caregiving professionals to ensure the highest levels of customized care, service and advocacy at each of his facilities. Zambakari is founder and CEO of The Zambakari Advisory, an international consultancy in the areas of strategic intelligence, program design and transitional processes. He is a Hartley B. and Ruth B. Barker Endowed Rotary Peace Fellow, and the assistant editor of the Bulletin of The Sudans Studies Association.


69 views0 comments

Comments


bottom of page