GUEST POST: JEREMY SILVERSTEIN
Preparing veterans for their return to civilian life can be just as important as training them for their service in the military.
27% of veterans report having difficulty adjusting to civilian life.
44% of veterans who served since 9/11 report having difficulty re-adjusting to civilian life.
6% of veterans characterize their adjustment back into civilian life as “very difficult.”
32% of all veterans say they have experienced something emotionally traumatic during their service.
61% of veterans who said their deployment had a negative impact on their marriage said re-entering civilian life was difficult.
66% of veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress say they have had difficulty re-adjusting to civilian life.
Here are some important details to know about transitioning back into civilian life.
Tips For Veterans
Talk To Other Veterans
Maintaining a support group of veterans with whom you regularly keep in touch can be very helpful. It gives you people to talk to who know what you’ve experienced. When you encounter difficulty during your transition, you can be assured that you will have someone with similar experiences who can provide support.
Don’t Be Afraid Of Your Feelings
Although it may feel like a sign of weakness, it’s important to remember that talking about your feelings and confronting them is good and can help the healing process. While you may have been encouraged to push your emotions aside during your service to focus on your objectives, in the civilian world, bottling your emotions can lead to more stress and anxiety.
Stick To A Healthy Routine
One of the most jarring aspects about returning to civilian life is the loss of the military’s regimented schedule. You can help ease yourself back into civilian life by keeping a regular routine that feels more like your military service. This should include regular exercise and a healthy diet to ensure your physical health doesn’t suffer.
Be Proud Of Your Service
Many veterans may want to downplay their military service once they return home — whether out of modesty or a desire to avoid thinking about traumatic events. However, ignoring what was a highly significant time in your life can prevent you from making a full adjustment back into civilian life. Additionally, many employers will want to hear about the skills and experiences you gained during your service.
How Family and the Community Can Support Veterans
Volunteer At A Local VA
A community’s VA facility always needs support from volunteers, no matter what their skill sets are. The VA provides vital services to veterans from the community, so anything anyone can do to serve the VA benefits veterans.
Donate To Charities That Support Veterans
Numerous charitable organizations support veterans in many ways. Whether someone donates money or a vehicle to be sold at auction, they help support the important missions of these organizations and provide real benefits for veterans in need.
Learn About Resources For Veterans In Crisis
By learning about crisis hotlines and other resources for veterans having trouble adjusting back into civilian life, people can connect veterans in their communities with help that they may not have known about before.
Preparing Veterans For The Job Market
1 | Understand How Your Skills Translate
Your service most likely taught you numerous specialized skills that could give you a significant advantage when seeking a new job. Assess the skills you’ve learned in the military and think about how they could be applied to a civilian job.
2 | Seek Veteran-friendly Employers
Many employers today have programs aimed at hiring veterans. Numerous resources exist for finding these employers through networking websites and veterans’ groups, so make these employers a priority during your job search.
3 | Always Be Networking
In addition to including your military service on your resume and LinkedIn profile, you can look for job boards on military-specific websites and make friends with veterans who already have jobs in the industry you’re interested in entering. You can make the camaraderie of the military community work in your favor, even after returning home.
AUTHOR BIO: JEREMY SILVERSTEIN
Jeremy Silverstein is Vice President of Operations and Vehicle Dispatching at Veteran Car Donations. During the years he’s been with the organization, he has become quite an expert in the industry and has handled tens of thousands of donated vehicles.
What other resources would you suggest a transitioning veteran look into?