Veterans returning from combat may have a difficult readjustment to civilian life due to physical injuries, traumatic brain injury (TBI), depression, anxiety, and/or posttraumatic stress. Other issues may include bereavement and family stress. Suicide rates have been increasing in combat arenas and among veterans after they return from combat. Many health and mental-health services are available for veterans.
Absence from family and daily civilian jobs can put a strain on personal, family and employee-employer relationships as well as create financial stressors. These effects may be compounded by multiple deployments. Support is available for veterans and their families in dealing with such complex circumstances. Veterans are encouraged to contact their local U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) office (see below).
Veterans experiencing emotional crisis should call the toll-free Suicide Hotline: 1-800-273-8255. Veterans may also call 911 or go to the nearest hospital emergency room for crisis care.
- U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA)
- This is the website of the top federal agency providing services to veterans.
- U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Combat Call Center
- This is a 24/7 confidential call center (1-877-WAR-VETS) where combat veterans and their families can call to talk about their military experience or any other issue they are facing in their readjustment to civilian life. The staff includes combat veterans from several eras as well as family members of combat veterans.
- Real Warriors Campaign
- The Real Warriors Campaign is an initiative launched by the Defense Centers of Excellence for Psychological Health and Traumatic Brain Injury (DCoE) to promote the processes of building resilience, facilitating recovery and supporting reintegration of returning service members, veterans and their families.
- Military Order of the Purple Heart USA
- This site includes an excellent list veterans’ service organizations, government programs for veterans and much more.
Veterans' Health Services
Veterans’ healthcare is provided by VA Medical Centers, VA Outpatient Clinics and Vet Center Programs. VA Medical Centers provide comprehensive inpatient care. VA Outpatient Clinics provide access for veterans to a primary-care practitioner (PCP). Services at the outpatient clinics may include: preventative health screening and vaccinations, basic laboratory services, medications, information/referral to community healthcare resources and assistance in applying for VA medical benefits. The Vet Center Program provides Readjustment Counseling Services for combat veterans and their family members. Services at the Vet Centers may include: individual counseling, group counseling, alcohol/drug assessments, marital and family counseling, bereavement counseling, information and referral to community resources, employment counseling and guidance, sexual trauma counseling (for trauma occurring while in the military) and assistance in applying for VA benefits.
- Veterans Health Administration (VHA)
- Health and mental-health services for veterans are administered by the Veterans Health Administration (VHA), which provides the largest integrated continuum of care in the United States. The basic requirements for eligibility are based on active military service of at least 24 months (or, in the case of reservists and/or National Guard personnel, having completed the full period ordered for active duty). Discharges from the military must have been for conditions other than dishonorable, and there are certain VA benefits that require service during wartime.
- Veterans’ Mental Health
- Information for veterans on mental-health issues from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.
- Vet Centers
- Vet Centers provide readjustment counseling and outreach services to all veterans who served in any combat zone. Services are also available for their family members for military-related issues.
- MyHealtheVet is an online gateway to veterans health benefits and services. It provides access to health information, links to gederal and VA benefits and resources, a personal health journal and online VA prescription refill.
- National Center for PTSD
- The center aims to help U.S. veterans and others who have experienced trauma or PTSD, through research, education and training. The website has information for veterans and the public, as well as for healthcare providers and professional helpers.
Local/Regional Healthcare Service Locations
- VA Medical Centers, comprehensive inpatient care:
- Cheyenne VA Medical Center, 2360 E. Pershing Blvd., Cheyenne, WY 82001, 307-778-7550, 1-888-483-9127 (toll-free); VA Eastern Colorado Medical Center, 303-399-8020.
- VA Outpatient Clinics, access to medical care for veterans:
- Fort Collins VA Outpatient Clinic, 2509 Research Blvd., Fort Collins, CO 80526, 970-224-1550.
- Vet Centers, other services including veterans readjustment counseling:
- Fort Collins Vet Center, 702 W. Drake Road, Bldg. C, Fort Collins, CO 80526, 970-221-5176; Cheyenne Vet Center, 3219 E. Pershing Blvd., Cheyenne, WY 82001, 307-778-7370.
More Local Resources for Veterans
- Larimer County Veterans Service Office
- The Veteran Service Officer and staff serve as advocates for veterans, their families and survivors. They will assist in applying for VA benefits and filing claims and provide information and outreach services. Appointments for Loveland and Estes Park can be scheduled by calling the Fort Collins office: 200 W. Oak Street (5th floor), Fort Collins, 970-498-7390.
- American Legion
- American Legion Post #4: 2124 N. Highway 287 (County Road 54G), Fort Collins, CO 80524, 970-484-0418.
- Veterans of Foreign Wars
- Veterans of Foreign Wars Post #1781: 603 Lesser Drive, Fort Collins, CO 80524, 970-493-9909.