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  • Writer's pictureIsabel Hollard

Supporting Veterans' Mental Health: BeneLynk's Commitment to Care Coordination, Employment, and Community

May is Mental Health Awareness Month, which has been observed in the United States since 1949. It is a time dedicated to raising awareness about mental health issues, advocating for support and resources, and promoting mental well-being. 1 in 5 adults in the U.S. have experienced mental illness at some point in their lives. For veterans of the United States Armed Forces, experts believe that 1 in 4 suffer from mental illness. In this blog post, we will delve into the prevalence of mental health issues among veterans, the resources available to support veterans' mental health, and BeneLynk’s commitment to improving veteran well-being.


Understanding Veteran Mental Health


Mental health problems are prevalent among our veteran population and are one of the biggest factors leading to unstable employment, incarceration, and homelessness in the veteran population. Common mental illnesses affecting our nation’s veterans include:


Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder: The prevalence of PTSD among veterans is higher than that of the general population at 7%. PTSD is also much higher (13%) for female veterans than for male veterans (6%). According to the Department of Veterans Affairs, veterans who use the VA for health care are more likely to be diagnosed with PTSD – likely because the VA provides a very thorough annual wellness exam (AWE) that not only includes standard preventive care measures and testing but a plethora of other screenings that provide a comprehensive picture of the veterans social and medical needs.


Loneliness: A study testing the prevalence of loneliness of older veterans discovered that more than half of veterans feel loneliness sometimes or often and that 1 in 5 veterans reported feeling lonely often. Reasons for this profound loneliness include loss of camaraderie, transition to civilian life, geographical dislocation, and other mental or physical health challenges.


Substance Use Disorders (SUD): More than 1 in 10 veterans are diagnosed with SUD. This includes alcohol and drug addiction, which often co-occurs with other mental health conditions (like PTSD) and can exacerbate their severity.


Suicide ideation: 4.39% of U.S. veterans reported suicide ideation, planning, or attempt in 2023. According to another 2023 publication, veteran suicide rates have reached an all-time high, with over 6,000 veterans dying by suicide annually.


Veteran Support and Resources


The VA provides comprehensive mental health services, including counseling, therapy, and support groups tailored specifically to veterans’ needs. However, receiving mental health services at the VA can be challenging due to factors such as long wait times, provider availability, and system complexity. As a result, many veterans may find it easier to access support from non-profit organizations like the Wounded Warrior Project, Veterans of Foreign Wars, and American Legion, which offer support with peer groups, mental health workshops, and counseling. For immediate assistance, veterans can contact the Veterans Crisis Line, a confidential hotline available 24/7, or explore online resources and mobile apps provided by the VA and other veteran dash supporting organizations that offer tools and exercises to manage symptoms and promote mental well-being.

 

BeneLynk Is Here to Help Our Nation’s Veterans


By identifying veterans in your health plan who are using VA Healthcare and collecting their VA medical records, health plans can be aware of all the care their members are receiving and how it might be impacting other areas of their health. BeneLynk can also identify and connect veteran members to local resources and services tailored to veterans' mental health needs. Because many of our advocates are veterans themselves or part of the military-connected community, they can lend an understanding and empathetic ear to veterans who may be experiencing loneliness and may need someone to talk to. We have found that veterans are more likely to open up to someone else who has shared a similar life experience. This is just one of the many reasons, BeneLynk is proud to be an award-winning employer of veterans and their families. 


A Proud Veteran Employer


BeneLynk is committed to supporting veterans not only through its services but also by providing employment opportunities within its organization. BeneLynk actively recruits and hires veterans, recognizing their unique skills, experiences, and dedication to service. BeneLynk fosters a supportive and inclusive work environment that values diversity and honors the contributions of those who have served our country.


Additionally, BeneLynk has been honored to receive several recognitions as a top employer of veterans by VETS Indexes, Military Friendly®, and other distinguished organizations, for its commitment to creating meaningful employment opportunities. Through these efforts, BeneLynk demonstrates its unwavering commitment to supporting veterans' mental health and overall success.

Wrapping It Up


In conclusion, Mental Health Awareness Month serves as a crucial reminder of the importance of supporting our nation's veterans who may be facing mental health challenges. With a prevalence rate of 1 in 4, mental health issues among veterans are a significant concern that requires attention and action. From PTSD to loneliness, substance use disorders, and suicide ideation, the mental well-being of veterans must be addressed with compassion and urgency.


Fortunately, there are resources available to support veterans' mental health, including comprehensive services provided by the VA and nonprofit organizations like the Wounded Warrior Project. Additionally, BeneLynk's Veteran Lynk solution plays a vital role in ensuring that veterans receive the coordinated care they need by facilitating communication between the VA and Medicare Advantage plans, identifying local resources, and providing empathetic support from advocates who understand the unique challenges veterans face.


In honoring our veterans and their sacrifices, let us continue to advocate for improved access to mental health care, raise awareness, and offer support to ensure that every veteran receives the care, respect, and dignity they deserve. Together, we can make a meaningful difference in the lives of our nation's heroes.

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