Serving Those Who Serve Serving Those Who Serve

Here are some mental health resources to help veterans suffering amid Afghanistan takeover

Serving Those Who Serve

If you or a loved one are in crisis or need someone to talk to, call the Veterans Crisis Line (1-800-273-8255, press 1) or the Vet Center Call Center (1-877-WAR VETS / 1-877-927-8387).

DENVER (KDVR) — The chaos and government collapse in Afghanistan is bringing a flood of emotions for U.S. veterans who served in the country.

“I think we’re just torn. We’re mixed with anger, disappointment, betrayal and we’re questioning if it was even worth it — our time and service in Afghanistan — was it worth it,” said Ryan Hemhauser, U.S. Army veteran and founder of the organization “Disgruntled Vets.”

Hemhauser deployed to Afghanistan in 2013 and 2014. He started the group Disgruntled Vets to help advocate for veterans and has heard from many amid the Taliban takeover in Afghanistan.

“From a mental health perspective, we are getting bombarded with a lot of people either spiraling into a depression or just the question of: was it worth it? Was it worth losing my friends and my youth?” Hemhauser said.

U.S. servicemembers in Afghanistan interact with a local in 2012. (KDVR)

Strategies for veterans to manage stress

According to mental health experts, those questions and doubts are common.

“They may be feeling frustrated, sad, helpless, distress and grief. They might feel angry or betrayed or experience an increase in mental health symptoms like (post-traumatic stress disorder) or depression,” said Andrea Rehmert, psychologist and deputy associate chief of staff for mental health in the VA Eastern Colorado Health Care System.

Rehmert said there are strategies for veterans to manage stress.

“We ask that they consider the ways that their service did make a difference — the impact it had on others’ lives or their own life. Remember that now is just one moment in time and that things will continue to change,” Rehmert said.

She also encourages veterans to stay connected with family, friends or other veterans.

“Just making sure you’re doing the things in life that lead to that meaningful, purposeful feeling,” Rehmert said.

Mental health resources for veterans

For those who need help outside of their family or friend circle, there are plenty of free options.

The two documents below list apps and websites with veteran resources. The list below includes call centers, websites and places that veterans can visit.

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