Many veterans who serve their country and return from active duty feel out of place when they get back. Depression in former servicemembers is a growing issue that must be confronted by our mental healthcare system. The National Veterans Foundation noted that 20 percent of those who served in Afghanistan or Iraq struggle with some sort of psychological condition. However, depression in female veterans is rarely addressed.
Many female veterans report feeling isolated upon returning from active duty. Kate Hendricks Thomas and Kyleanne Hunter recently published “Invisible Veterans: What Happens When Military Women Become Civilians Again,” which explores research and narratives about homecoming stories from many female veterans.
The mental health department of Veterans Affairs published a report on former servicemember suicide rates from 2005-2016. It found that female veterans are 1.8 times more likely to die by suicide than civilian women. Thomas and Hunter explore connections between being a female veteran and high suicide rates in their book.
In civilian settings, many former servicemembers feel out of place due to their traumatizing and unconventional experiences. On the other hand, female veterans often feel out of place in settings tailored to military service members because these environments are often male dominated.
The two researchers also note that serving time on active duty creates a lasting bond with your unit. Leaving these people and returning to civilian life can be jarring and can make adjusting difficult. Their research shows that veterans support systems need to make substantial improvements for women to successfully transition back home.
If you or a loved one has had difficulty transitioning from active duty service to civilian life, ask VetLaw’s team of attorneys about available resources and potential solutions.