In honor of Veteran’s Day this year, Colorado-based healthcare company All Points North, or APN for short, released results of a survey that found veterans (and their families) persistently struggle with maintaining positive mental health. Highlights of the report were published via press release on November 10th.
APN provides rehab programs specially designed for military veterans, with treatment centers in Colorado and California. In addition, there are virtual therapies via the company’s APN Connections app, available on iOS and Android.
The survey came to life by way of a collaboration between APN and research firm Censuswide. The project queried more than a thousand military veterans, taking nearly a week and-a-half to complete. It ran October 5th through the 14th.
“We train our military before they go to war, now it’s time to seriously consider how we train them to re-enter civilian life,” said Noah Nordheimer, founder and chief executive of APN, in a statement for the press release. “Veterans and their families face unique challenges, and as such, they need customized mental healthcare. We find clients who have strong family involvement have a higher likelihood of sustained recovery which is why we treat them as a unit.”
The survey’s results are bleak. Amongst other numbers, nearly half (45%) of respondents reported they are not optimistic about getting better in the future, with 56% saying their mental health struggles have adverse effects on their relationship with their partner. Many admitted to resorting to alcohol and other controlled substances at least one time per week as a coping mechanism.
“The fact that 56% of veterans in civilian roles say their mental health impacts their relationships at work is not surprising to me at all. It really represents how difficult, if not impossible, it is for veterans to relate to ‘normal people’ [who] have never served in the military or don’t have any understanding of what veterans have been through, particularly in the workplace,” said veteran John Armour in a statement provided to me. “I sought treatment at APN in an effort to overcome daily obstacles like this and improve my mental health overall. I had an amazing treatment experience, where I was matched with understanding providers and was quickly given a treatment plan that was unique to me and perfect for my situation, which I think is key for people who feel like they can’t relate to anyone else.”
Armour added the data APN discovered, while depressing, is unsurprising.
“As a veteran who has struggled with opioid use disorder and major depressive disorder, this data unfortunately makes a lot of sense to me. I honestly would have expected that more than 46% consume controlled substances once a week to cope with civilian life. In terms of my own experience, I came to APN from another residential facility, where I was having a poor experience and really struggling to find the help I needed. I was attracted to APN for their different types and customized approach to treatment. I stayed at APN for 30 days, during which I received a variety of treatments ranging from HBOT to deepTMS to even working with a personal trainer. I never felt like I was getting the same cookie-cutter approach as everyone else. [I wish I] sought out treatment [with] APN earlier.”
Like the aging and elderly communities, military veterans often are forgotten as people who have disabilities that require accommodation. Make no mistake, mental health conditions are indeed disabilities. Likewise, services like those provided by the Department of Veterans Affairs are a form of accessibility in the purest sense of the word. This is important to point out as it serves as yet another example of accessibility’s dynamism. The thing about disabled people is we find accessibility—or lack thereof—in nearly every aspect of everyday life; technology is but one. We do this out of necessity and humans’ primal need for survival.
APN’s full report can be downloaded from their website.