Is your family’s physical and mental health being affected by your veteran’s service connected disability?

You may not realize how much the stress of coping with your veteran’s problems affects every part of you and your family’s lives. It may be something as major as health concerns to something as minor as making good food choices.Having a veteran with service connected issues is going to cause stress on the family unit. There are even simple things to ease the effects of stress. Mental health is how we think, feel and behave. Just like physical health, mental health is important at every stage of life and is essential to overall health.There are many ways to arm a family to help combat a stressful situation if you have a veteran who may have a mental health concern. You are your family’s advocate, be proactive in the healing process:

  • Learn as much as you can about what you may be combating. Knowing how it affects people may help you understand what your family member is going through. The more you know, the better you and your family can handle things such as PTSD.
  • Offer to go to doctor visits with your family member. You can help keep track of medicine and therapy, and you can be there for support.
  • Tell your loved one you want to listen and that you also understand if he or she doesn’t feel like talking.
  • Plan family activities together, like having dinner or going to a movie.
  • Take a walk, go for a bike ride, or do some other physical activity together. Exercise is important for good health and helps clear your mind.
  • Encourage contact with family and close friends. A support system will help your family member get through difficult changes and stressful times.

A recent headline talked about the many stresses on marital couples of veterans returning home from war. In fact, they face varying degrees of challenges. Click here to visit the headline.

Soothing Remedies

Is your veteran stressed or do they suffer from PTSD nightmares? Is their obstructive sleep apnea keeping the family from sleeping soundly?

Controlling stress within the family is vital for a healing environment. Stress lowers your resistance and makes the body more susceptible to illness and disease.

  • Aromatherapy (using essential oils-warm baths, massage, candles)
  • Hot caffeine-free drinks
  • Sounds (nature sounds, white noise, or whatever is soothing to you)

Did you know…

Research has shown certain foods work with our bodies to release calming brain chemical and decrease stress-induced hormones. Eating a balanced diet, getting enough sleep, and exercising can help your immune system better fight off the germs that cause illness.*Foods high in Vitamin C (oranges, strawberries, chili peppers)
*Nuts
*Complex carbohydrates (oatmeal, whole grain bread)
*High Potassium foods (dates, apricots, bananas, avocados, beets)
*Dark leafy greens, which are also packed with calcium and magnesium
*Omega-3 foods (salmon, sardines)

What resources are available?

The Department of Veterans Affairs recently completed a media campaign for its cell center “Coaching Into Care,” discussed in this headline, a telephone service which provides assistance to family members and friends trying to encourage their veteran to seek health care for possible readjustment and mental health issues.

The VA has also added MyHealtheVet, be sure to register online for your services, to help track your medical/mental health progress. There are various online health screening tools such as Substance abuse or PTSD, which can be key in the beginning journey to healing a Veteran or Family. Screens are NOT intended to provide a complete assessment or diagnosis for any condition. They CAN help identify symptoms and assist you in determining if you should seek further evaluation by your physician or a mental health professional.

For more information, contact your local vet center about counseling for services available for your veteran and your family.

Feel free to share any ideas, recipes, or comments of how you and your veteran are dealing with any health and well-being issues that coincide with the veteran’s service connected disabilities in our Straight Talk forum.