Resources for veterans affected by the Russian invasion of Ukraine
WASHINGTON – The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs on Tuesday announced a list of resources for veterans who may be feeling emotional distress or recalling their own deployment experiences amid Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
“I know many of you, like me, have been deeply affected by the war in Ukraine,” Veterans Affairs Secretary Denis McDonough said in a news release. “My heart goes out to the people of Ukraine as they defend against this unprovoked attack, and to all those affected by this terrible war. Please know that we at VA are here for you during this difficult time.”
McDonough noted that the government agency is “ready to help – today and every day.”
Resources for veterinarians
For veterans with prolonged distress or an inability to function, the VA suggests seeking help.
According to the agency, there are professionals available who can help vets with the most common responses, such as depression, anxiety, PTSD, moral injury and complicated grief.
A destroyed building after a Russian missile attack in the town of Vasylkiv, near Kiev, on February 27, 2022. (Photo by Dimitar DILKOFF / AFP) (Photo by DIMITAR DILKOFF/AFP via Getty Images)
Each VA facility also has mental health specialists. You can find a local supplier here.
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If you think you might hurt yourself or someone else, contact the Veterans Crisis Line now, an online chat and text messaging service, which is free to all veterans, even if you are not enrolled in VA health care. Confidential support is available 24 hours a day by calling 1-800-273-8255 and pressing 1.
Veterans can also talk about their reactions at VA Vet Community Centers, where more than 70% of staff are veterans themselves. You can call 1-800-WAR-VETS or find one near you.
Plus, you can access online resources designed to connect veterans, family and friends, and other supporters with information, resources, and solutions to issues affecting their lives. Visit MakeTheConnection.net to learn more.
Coping Strategies for Veterinarians
The VA said feeling distress is a normal reaction to negative events, especially ones that feel personal. According to the agency, it can be helpful to allow yourself to experience these feelings rather than trying to avoid them.
Often these feelings will naturally take their course, but if they continue unabated or you feel overwhelmed by them, the VA said the suggestions below may be helpful.
- Engage in positive, healthy activities that are rewarding, meaningful, or enjoyable, even if you don’t feel like it, because they can make you feel better.
- Stay connected by spending time with people who make you feel safe, calm, or happy, or those who best understand what you’re going through.
- Practice good self-care by engaging in activities such as listening to music, exercising, practicing breathing routines, spending time in nature or with animals, keeping a journal, or reading inspirational texts.
- Stick to your routines and follow a schedule for sleeping, eating, working, and doing other daily activities.
- Limit media exposure, especially if it increases your distress.
- Try PTSD Coach Online, an online video series that will guide you through 17 tools to help you manage stress.
Giving back to veterans
Another way to find solace can be to engage with your community by giving back to veterans, the organization continued.
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“You are our nation’s greatest civic assets,” the VA wrote. “Many of our veterans and veteran-serving organizations are already giving back as a way to support their communities, reduce feelings of helplessness and improve their mental health by serving as a bridge to the community with volunteer service. Get involved! ”
Veterans Service Organizations:
Last week, a group of veterans and civilians who had spent the past six months helping Americans escape Afghanistan have now turned their attention to Ukraine.
“We had a group of people who were on the ground that we had identified who wanted to get out, especially if things went wrong,” said James Judge, spokesman for the coalition of civilians and veterans known as the name of Project Dynamo, at Fox News Digital on Thursday.
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About two dozen U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents were on the first Project Dynamo bus out of town, and the group was already planning further evacuations.
This story was reported from Los Angeles. FOX News contributed.