Mental Health Aid for Events in Afghanistan - VA Greater Los Angeles Healthcare System
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Mental Health Aid for Events in Afghanistan

VA Secretary McDonough

VA Secretary McDonough

By Medina Ayala-Lo
Thursday, September 9, 2021

Over the last few months, many major American news outlets have focused on the drawdown and its consequences from our Nation’s longest war: Afghanistan. Whether you’re a Veteran who served in support of Operation Enduring Freedom, one who served in another era of American conflict or you know someone who served, chances are you’re reeling from the news coming out of Afghanistan.

The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) wants Veterans from all eras to know you are not alone. Many Veterans are experiencing a wide range of emotions and questioning the meaning of their sacrifices as they grapple with the moral impact of their service. VA Greater Los Angeles Healthcare System (VAGLAHS) is ready to help because no Veteran should have to struggle alone.

“The painful images we have been seeing on the news worsen the pain of injuries, both mental and physical, our Veterans acquired in the line of duty,” said Barry Guze, M.D., Assistant Chief of Staff for Mental Health and Chief of Psychiatry, VAGLAHS. “These strong feelings are all normal reactions to negative events, especially ones that personally impact you. If you’re a Veteran in distress, or know you know someone who is, reach out for help. In times of distress, making that connection can mean a world of difference.”

Below are some resources to help Veterans and those who love them during this difficult time:

  • Veterans Crisis Line - If you are having thoughts of suicide, call 1-800-273-8255, then PRESS 1 or visit www.veteranscrisisline.net
    For emergency mental health care, you can also go directly to your local VA medical center 24/7 regardless of your discharge status or enrollment in other VA health care.
  • Vet Centers - Discuss how you feel with other Veterans in one of the eight community-based counseling centers located in the Los Angeles area. 70% of Vet Center staff are Veterans. Call 1-877-927-8387 or find one near you.
  • VA Mental Health Services Guide - This guide will help you sign up and access mental health services at the VA.
  • VA Caregiver Support Line - Call 1-855-260-3274 (M-F 8AM - 10PM & SAT 8AM - 5PM ET)

Veterans are encouraged to visit blogs.va.gov to view the Afghanistan series, which contains additional information and resources for how Veterans can find support during this difficult time.

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