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Perceived Needs of Veterans Transitioning from the Military to Civilian Life

  • Karen J. Derefinko
  • Troy A. Hallsell
  • Matthew B. Isaacs
  • Lauren W. Colvin
  • Francisco I. Salgado Garcia
  • Zoran Bursac
Article

Abstract

Despite existing separation services provided by the military, many transitioning to civilian life report continued or even worsening issues, including anger outbursts, PTSD, sustained substance use, and strained family relationships. Further, only 61% of the 1,906,754 veterans separated since 2002 participate in the VA health care system after separation, indicating that at least three quarters of a million veterans are not captured by research conducted in VA systems. The current study (N = 90) examined the perceived needs of veterans transitioning from the military to civilian life, assessed issues that prevent these individuals from participating in VA health care upon separation, and captured veteran recommendations to improve existing separation services, either prior to or after the transition to civilian life. Veterans identified several needs, including improved access to care, mental health and substance use counseling, and preparedness for adjustment and economical/financial issues. Implications for both care and policy are discussed.

Notes

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

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Copyright information

© National Council for Behavioral Health 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Preventive MedicineUniversity of Tennessee Health Sciences CenterMemphisUSA
  2. 2.Department of HistoryUniversity of MemphisMemphisUSA
  3. 3.St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, Clinical Trials AdministrationMemphisUSA

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