When most people think about disabling conditions that affect veterans, they think about physical injuries. However, many veterans suffer from silent afflictions including psychiatric conditions and other mental health issues.
In today’s military, constant deployments and other stresses place servicemembers in situations that affect them deeply, even if they don’t realize it at the time. It is not uncommon for veterans to realize many years after separating from service that they suffer from anxiety-related conditions, including PTSD, that greatly affect their lives and their ability to function in society and in the workplace.
The VA’s disability compensation program is designed to provide benefits to veterans who have developed PTSD or other mental health conditions either during their active duty or following discharge from the military. If you have been diagnosed with a psychiatric condition, or if you haven’t been officially diagnosed but are seeking mental health treatment, you should consider whether your time on active duty was the cause of those symptoms and if so seek the help of a Veterans disability claims lawyer to discuss your eligibility to pursue a veterans mental health claim.
Naturally, being in combat places servicemembers at great risk of physical harm. Until recently, VA has not recognized the true impact of combat and other issues faced both during deployment and while at home has on the mental health of veterans.
Perhaps the most common mental health condition that affects veterans is post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD. The root causes of PTSD may result from any number of stressors or events in service, including witnessing extreme violence or trauma, or being physically or sexually assaulted. Most veterans may decide to tough it out and do not realize they suffer from PTSD until long after they have left the service.
However, PTSD is not the only mental health condition that can affect veterans. Time spent on active duty could also result in severe anxiety disorders, depressive disorders, or a general inability to readjust to civilian life, among others. VetLaw’s team of experienced attorneys are available to discuss the experiences you had on active duty and how to establish a medical nexus between those events and your current mental health problems.
To qualify for VA disability benefits, a veteran must be able to prove that the event or stressor that led to the condition occurred while on active duty, and that the condition now has a significant impact on their life. Providing detailed information on the events from service will be helpful in establishing proof of the incident that happened while on active duty.
Being wounded in combat or witnessing a fellow servicemember be wounded or killed is not the only type of event involving extreme violence which may serve as a stressor. Unfortunately, many servicemembers may be physically or sexually assaulted while on active duty, or may be exposed to other traumatic events that can serve as the basis for a psychiatric diagnosis.
Although showing a nexus, or connection, between your current mental health symptoms and an event or events on active duty is required, sometimes your VA mental health records may contain enough information to establish this vital link. Other times, a psychiatrist or psychologist experienced in working with attorneys may be able to assist with proving the connection. Either way, VetLaw’s experienced attorneys can help you gather this and other evidence needed to pursue a successful mental health claim.