The situation in Afghanistan is shattering for many veterans
August 19, 2021
For many Americans, this week was just like any other. You woke up each day, got ready, and went to work. Perhaps this is a job that you have had for many years. Maybe even decades… Now imagine for a moment that your job somehow completely unravels in the blink of an eye. All that you did and all that you sacrificed for that job now feels pointless.
This past Sunday, Afghanistan fell to the Taliban.
So as you can imagine, ‘pointless’ is how many service members and veterans who served in Afghanistan and even Iraq are feeling. But worse. For those who are military-connected, you already understand that deployments become so much more than just the mission. Friendships are developed with local citizens in-country, camaraderie is created with allied forces, interpreters become members of your military family, and the future for local children becomes a reason for you to get up and fight every day.
Watching the situation unravel and remembering all those who have fought, bled, and died for the cause is extremely traumatic for Afghanistan veterans.
We are hearing from veterans across the country that they are mentally struggling with what is happening on the other side of the globe. They are questioning their post-war lives and why they have had to struggle with the dark reality of living with PTSD when now it feels as if it were for nothing. They have contacts in Afghanistan that are sending them goodbye notes as they fear for their lives under Taliban rule.
We know this is deep, but we are sharing this because it’s important for folks to understand what the military community is feeling right now. This new phase of the war is just beginning and our veterans will have many days, weeks, months, or even years ahead when they will be inundated with the news of Afghanistan.
Now, more than ever, we need to be there for our veterans, service members, caregivers, and military families.
Here are some ways you can support the military-connected individuals in your life:
- Reach out. They may not be ready to talk about it yet, but let them know you are there for them whenever they are ready.
- Connect them to Resources. There are many organizations that can help to provide support specifically for the unique challenges our military and veterans face. Click here to see our list of organizations, events, and other resources that will help them cope.
- Do not hesitate to call for help. If someone you know has expressed thoughts of suicide, please seek help. Veterans Crisis Line: 1-800-273-8255, then PRESS 1 or visit http://www.veteranscrisisline.net/ OR National Suicide Prevention Line: 1-800-273-8255
Please help us share this information with service members and veterans. Together we can ensure that these life-saving resources reach those who need them the most.