Healing the Invisible Wounds: Providing Comprehensive Veterans Mental Health Treatment

Arrow Passage Recovery offers veterans mental health treatment programs tailored to combat stress, PTSD, and trauma. Begin healing today.

The Importance of Veterans Mental Health Treatment

The brave men and women who have served in the United States military have made immense sacrifices to protect our nation’s freedom and security. However, the challenges they face upon returning to civilian life can be overwhelming.

Transitioning from military to civilian life can be very challenging for veterans. Unfortunately, many struggle with mental health issues like post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), depression, and substance use disorder (SUD), with up to 41% of veterans in need of mental health treatment.1 

It’s important for veterans to have access to mental health treatment that understands their specific needs and allows them to pull back to be propelled forward into their new reality.

Our Approach to Veterans Mental Health Treatment

At Arrow Passage Recovery, we understand the unique needs of our nation’s heroes. Our mission is to provide comprehensive, personalized care tailored specifically for veterans seeking mental health and addiction treatment.

We are dedicated to supporting these courageous individuals on their journey towards healing and reintegration into civilian life.

The Challenges of Returning to Civilian Life for Veterans

Serving in the military is a unique experience that can be hard for civilians to understand. Service members live and work in a strict, structured environment with its own rules, language, and values.

They form close bonds with their fellow service members and often see and experience traumatic events, especially if they serve in combat zones.2 

When veterans return to civilian life, they have to relearn how to live in an environment with much different social norms. Many struggle to relate to friends and family who don’t understand what they’ve been through, and the skills they learned in the military may not directly translate to civilian jobs.3 

On top of that, many veterans deal with physical and mental health issues related to their service.

Factors Affecting Veterans’ Transition To Civilian Life

Several key factors can make the transition from military to civilian life more challenging for some veterans, including:

Combat Injuries
These can be both physical and psychological injuries. Veterans who were seriously wounded or experienced a traumatic event during their service often face a more difficult readjustment period. 4 
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder

This is relatively common among combat veterans, with some estimates as high as 25% among returning war veterans. Symptoms like flashbacks, nightmares, hypervigilance, and emotional numbness can make it harder to reintegrate into family and community roles.5 

Even veterans without a clinical diagnosis of PTSD may struggle with painful memories and survivor’s guilt.

Moral Injury
This term refers to the psychological and spiritual impact of participating in, witnessing, or failing to prevent acts that violate one’s deeply held moral beliefs. Veterans struggling with moral injury often experience intense feelings of shame, guilt, and alienation.6 
Physical Injuries and Disabilities
Veterans may need to adapt to new physical limitations and learn to navigate the civilian world with prosthetics, hearing loss, chronic pain, or other impairments. Severe injuries can impact the ability to work and require extensive rehabilitation.7 
Post-9/11 Veterans
Multiple deployments were common during the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, with many service members returning to combat zones again and again. This repeated exposure to danger and loss takes a heavy toll. Post-9/11 veterans have high rates of PTSD, traumatic brain injury, and other invisible wounds.8 
Younger Veterans

Younger veterans, especially those who enlisted right out of high school, may experience a particularly tough transition. They are more likely to have mental health issues and problems finding employment compared to older veterans.9 

Many feel like they are starting over in their mid-20s while their civilian peers have already built careers and started families.

Lack of Social Support
Married veterans tend to fare better than their single counterparts. Having a spouse to come home to provides stability and emotional connection. On the other hand, long separations and the stress of deployment can also strain military marriages to the breaking point.10 
Veterans Without Strong Family Ties

Veterans who return to dysfunctional home environments may feel isolated and rootless after leaving the close-knit culture of the military.11 

Difficulty relating to civilian friends and limited social networks compound the problem. Some veterans also have to contend with unstable living situations and even homelessness.

With so many factors at play, there is no one-size-fits-all experience of transitioning out of the military. Age, marital status, combat exposure, length of service, injuries, and support system all shape each veteran’s unique readjustment journey.

veterans mental health treatment

Common Veterans Mental Health Treatment Issues

Mental health disorders are relatively common among both veterans and civilians, but veterans may experience them at higher rates due to the stresses of military service.

For others, military service may exacerbate already-present symptoms of certain mental health disorders, leading to more intensive or complicated issues arising after their service.

Some of the most common disorders in veterans mental health treatment beyond PTSD include:


Depression causes persistent feelings of sadness, hopelessness, and loss of interest in activities. It frequently co-occurs with PTSD.12 

Substance Use Disorder

Some veterans turn to drugs or alcohol to cope with mental health symptoms, which can lead to addiction. The military culture of heavy drinking can also contribute to alcohol abuse issues.13 

Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI)

Explosions and other head traumas can cause TBI, leading to symptoms like headaches, memory problems, and mood changes. It’s common among post-9/11 veterans and can be mistaken for or worsen PTSD.14 

Understanding Military Culture to Ensure Effective Treatment

To effectively incorporate veterans mental health treatment into holistic care, it’s crucial for healthcare providers to understand the unique culture of the military. 15 

While the military is a diverse population, there are some core cultural elements that shape the worldview and behaviors of service members and veterans.

Values and Norms

The military emphasizes values like discipline, self-sacrifice, loyalty, and mental fortitude. From basic training onward, service members are instilled with the ethos of putting the mission and their unit above their own needs.16 

Asking for help, especially for mental health issues, can be seen as a sign of weakness that lets the team down. The mantra of “suck it up and drive on” encourages service members to push through hardships without complaint.17 

This deeply ingrained culture of stoicism and self-reliance can make it very difficult for veterans to acknowledge they are struggling and reach out for help. Many view seeking mental healthcare as a last resort, to be used only in the most dire of circumstances.

Providers need to recognize the courage it takes for a veteran to walk through their door, and avoid any language or actions that could be perceived as minimizing their military identity.

Hierarchy and Structure

The military operates within a highly defined hierarchy based on rank and position. Service members are trained to obey the orders of those above them in the chain of command without question.

This rigid power structure maintains discipline and allows for rapid decision-making in high-stakes situations. However, it can also make service members hesitant to speak up, even when they have concerns.

In the healthcare setting, veterans may be reluctant to ask questions, voice disagreement, or admit they don’t understand something, especially to a higher-ranking provider. They may assume the provider knows best and defer to their authority.

Providers should make extra effort to engage veterans in collaborative decision-making and empower them to be active participants in their own care.

Language and Communication

Like any specialized profession, the military has its own vocabulary, acronyms, and slang. Some of these terms may have different meanings than in standard English. Using the wrong terminology or misinterpreting a phrase can create confusion and undermine rapport.

In addition to verbal language differences, military communication often relies heavily on non-verbal cues like hand gestures, facial expressions, and body language. Service members are trained to convey crucial information quickly and covertly in high-stakes situations.18 

In veterans mental health treatment, providers should pay close attention to a veteran’s non-verbal signals and be mindful of their own body language as well.

Diversity and Intersectionality In The Military

Although predominantly male, the military is very diverse in terms of race, ethnicity, religion, socioeconomic background, and geographic origin. Women and racial/ethnic minorities face unique stressors and challenges both during and after military service.19 

Sexual minorities and gender diverse individuals also represent a significant portion of service members and veterans.20 

Providers must take an intersectional approach and avoid making generalizations based on a single demographic characteristic in veterans mental health treatment.

Developing Military Cultural Competence

Providers who take the time to learn about military culture, both in general and specific to each individual veteran, can provide better patient-centered care. Cultural competency training is essential for any civilian provider working with the military and veteran population.

Key strategies to employ in veterans mental health treatment include:

  • Examining one’s own assumptions and biases about the military
  • Learning basic terminology, ranks, and protocols
  • Asking open-ended questions to understand the veteran’s unique experiences
  • Demonstrating respect for the veteran’s service and values
  • Involving family members and other support systems in treatment planning
  • Collaborating with military health system providers
  • Advocating for culturally-informed programs and policies

With greater understanding and sensitivity to military culture, providers can break down barriers to care, communicate more effectively, and ultimately improve mental health outcomes for the veterans they serve.

Evidence-Based Veterans Mental Health Treatment

At Arrow Passage Recovery, we recognize that every veteran’s journey is different. That’s why we create individualized treatment plans designed to meet each person’s specific needs and goals.

Our supportive team walks alongside veterans, providing guidance and encouragement as they navigate the path towards recovery and successful reintegration into civilian life.

Some of the services we provide in our veterans mental health treatment program include:

EMDR Treatment for Veterans

Eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR) therapy is a highly effective treatment for PTSD and trauma, both of which are prevalent among veterans. Our EMDR-trained clinicians use this evidence-based approach to help veterans process and heal from traumatic experiences.

Learn More About Our EMDR Treatment for Veterans

One-on-One Therapy for Veterans

Individual counseling is a crucial component of our veterans’ treatment program. Our therapists provide one-on-one support, utilizing evidence-based modalities such as cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) and trauma-focused therapies to address each veteran’s unique needs and challenges.

Explore Our One-on-One Therapy for Veterans

Veterans' Job Placement Programs

Transitioning back into the civilian workforce can be challenging for many veterans.

Our job placement programs in our veterans mental health treatment offer comprehensive support, including job training, resume assistance, and connections with veteran-friendly employers. We empower veterans to build fulfilling careers and achieve financial stability.

Explore Our Veterans’ Job Placement Programs

Group Therapy for Veterans

Group therapy provides a supportive environment where veterans can share their experiences, learn from one another, and develop coping strategies.

We offer various group therapy options in our veterans mental health treatment, including process groups, psychoeducational groups, and skill-building groups tailored to the specific needs of our veteran population.

Join a Recovery Community That Cares

Spiritual-Based Therapy for Veterans

For many veterans, spirituality and faith play a significant role in their recovery journey. Our spiritual counselors offer guidance and support, helping veterans find meaning, purpose, and inner strength through their beliefs and values.

Learn more about our Spiritual-Based Therapy for Veterans

Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT) for Veterans

In some cases, medication can play a crucial role in treating substance use disorders and mental health conditions. Our MAT program provides supervised use of FDA-approved medications, combined with counseling and behavioral therapies, to support long-term recovery for veterans.

Learn More About Our MAT for Veterans

PTSD and Trauma Treatment for Veterans

Our specialized PTSD and trauma treatment services, including EMDR and other evidence-based modalities, are designed to help veterans process traumatic experiences and develop effective coping strategies.

Discover Our PTSD and Trauma Treatment for Veterans

Improving Access to Care for Veterans Mental Health Treatment

Despite the availability of effective treatments, many veterans still don’t receive the mental health treatment they need. 

Some common barriers include:

  • Stigma: The military culture of toughness and self-reliance can make veterans reluctant to admit they need help. They may worry about being seen as weak or damaging their career.
  • Lack of understanding: Civilian providers who don’t understand military culture may fail to pick up on important issues or make veterans feel disconnected from care.
  • Logistical issues: Long wait times, transportation difficulties, and scheduling conflicts with work can interfere with getting treatment.
  • Negative beliefs about treatment: Some veterans may not believe that treatment will help or may have had negative experiences with healthcare in the past.

Breaking Down Treatment Barriers in Veterans Mental Health Treatment

Fortunately, Veterans Affairs and other organizations are working to break down these barriers and improve access to veteran mental health care.

Efforts include:

  • Education and outreach to reduce stigma and spread awareness of available services
  • Expanding telehealth options to reach veterans in rural areas or with transportation issues
  • Providing more culturally competent care by training staff in military culture and hiring more veterans
  • Integrating mental health screening and treatment into primary care visits to make it more convenient and less stigmatizing to access

Overcoming barriers to mental health treatment for veterans requires a multi-pronged approach. By breaking down logistical hurdles and fostering an environment where seeking help is encouraged, we can ensure all veterans have access to the high-quality mental health support they need and deserve.

Supporting Our Nation's Heroes With Personalized Veterans Mental Health Treatment

At Arrow Passage Recovery, we are committed to providing the highest quality care for our nation’s veterans. We understand the unique challenges you face, and we are here to support you every step of the way on your journey towards healing and reintegration into civilian life.

If you or a loved one is a veteran struggling with mental health or substance use disorder issues, we encourage you to take the first step towards recovery.

Our team will help you determine the best path forward for your veterans mental health treatment. We walk side by side with you throughout treatment to ensure that you feel supported and cared for.

Get in Touch With Us Today

Contact Arrow Passage Recovery today to learn more about our comprehensive veterans mental health treatment programs tailored specifically for veterans. Our dedicated team is ready to help you reclaim your life and find the peace and fulfillment you deserve.

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