Urgency and privacy are keys to getting veterans to seek help for mental health challenges

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A new study from the University of Missouri School of Medicine indicates that veterans are reluctant to seek help for sleep problems or substance use (story HERE).

The study included 334 veterans from 46 states — 66% were men and more than 70% identified themselves as a person of color. Participants completed screening questions for 15 medical conditions, including insomnia, hazardous alcohol use, drug use, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), anxiety and depression. They also rated the importance of treatment for each health condition and their willingness to seek treatment. according to the report.

While the intentions of this study are kind, the findings off-pitch. The reason we’re not getting help for those issues is because of life responsibilities, and occupational retribution in reporting those issues.

One reason is the delay in care. How long is the waiting list to see someone for those conditions in your community? In my old hometown of Orlando it takes weeks?

And then there is the stigma involved, and one size fits all approach to the problems.

Finally, many of us have jobs, families, and other responsibilities. After waiting weeks for treatment, we next have to take off from work for what is essentially good conversation and a vial of pills.

We don’t have time for that. The rent is due.

Short-handed veterans health care providers are doing their best, but many of them can’t handle the workload. Veterans get missed.

This is why suicide numbers continue to be high, including in Florida where we’re among the leaders.

The study indicates we’re much more likely to get help for physical pain.

That’s because it keeps us from paying the rent. And if you’ve been paying attention…the rent is always due.

I love academia, and have a background in qualitative research. But sometimes the answers don’t always warrant a study.

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