In order to ensure that the Head Space and Timing community is providing the most support possible to veterans, their families, and those who support veterans, we offer weekly posts that highlight free resources for veterans. This is important to us: in our opinion, veterans should not have to pay for their mental health care. That’s not to say that those providing the care should work for free, as they are just health and wellness professionals that spent considerable time and effort receiving clinical training and developing their skills, and should be compensated appropriately. Instead, it is important to find other resources available, such as Insurance (with or without co-pay), the Choice Program, or grant-based or scholarship-based programs, which will enable to counselor or therapist to meet with the veteran. That is the goal of this series of posts.
One of the most significant challenges regarding veteran mental health is the stigma against actually reaching out and talking to someone. Some veterans have a misunderstanding of, and even a distrust for, mental health professionals. Are they going to give me a bunch of pills that turn me into a zombie? Am I going to have to sit down and tell my most closely guarded secrets to a stranger? All of these things, and many more, come together to keep a veteran from reaching out and getting the help they need.
One website could help to overcome some of those barriers by helping veterans understand more about their experiences. Vets Prevail is an online mental health awareness and education platform that uses technology, clinical mental health counseling resources, and anonymous peer support to assist veterans in gaining better understanding and awareness about their mental health and wellness.
The Vets Prevail website has many different aspects to it. Anonymous self-assessments, which are the same as clinical assessments used by mental health professionals, help provide an understanding of challenges you may be facing. Self-guided learning helps to teach the veteran about the different aspects of mental health and wellness. This leads them to know more about how their thoughts and moods impact their behavior. Users have the ability to be connected to a Peer and participate in an anonymous online chat with a certified user that has worked through the program themselves. Even more interesting, by progressing through the program, the veteran has the opportunity to earn Amazon.com gift cards of anywhere from $5 to $100. Learning about health and wellness and getting rewards for it? That’s a good deal right there.
Vets Prevail is another absolutely free resource that can help veterans achieve mental health and wellness. The training is based off of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy psychoeducation models that help the veteran understand how their thoughts, moods, and behaviors are connected. While not a substitute for working with a certified mental health professional that understands military and veteran concerns, the platform has the ability to connect you to those resources. A peer-reviewed article in the Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology shows that this platform may be effective in removing many of the barriers that veterans experience in seeking and obtaining mental health assistance.
Anything that helps a veteran come to a greater awareness about how their experiences impacted them is an excellent resource. Vets Prevail is one of them.
For more information on this and other programs that provide mental health support to veterans, please visit our RESOURCE page. Please comment below and share with your network in order to join the conversation regarding veteran mental health. You can sign up for updates from Head Space and Timing and follow Duane, a combat veteran and mental health counselor, on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.