Veterans

Are you a veteran or a student who is currently in the military? First of all, thank you very much for your service.

Student veterans and military connected students often have many strengths. As you transition to life at UNH and civilian life more generally, it is important to reflect on what these strengths. Which skills and talents did you have to call upon while serving in the military? How can you use your ability to adapt to challenging environments while becoming a UNH student? What content skill do you have that can transfer to your education here and  future career(s)? It may also be helpful to reflect on your resilience, or you tendency to bounce back from very tough experiences.

Here at the Counseling Center, we also realize that returning to school presents different challenges. College is often difficult for many students, but veterans often have unique concerns including academic disruption due to deployment, being older than most other students, feeling misunderstood or undervalued, balancing demands of school and family, as well as coping with visible or invisible disabilities due to combat experience.

Academic life provides less structure than the military while requiring that students accomplish very much. If you are struggling with attending class or learning the material, you may benefit from learning note-taking and study skills from the Center for Academic Resources (CFAR).http://www.cfar.unh.edu/

Do you or might you have a disability that makes school more difficult? Disability Services for Students (DSS) can help.http://www.unh.edu/disabilityservices/

If you are experiencing difficulty concentrating, feeling irritable, unmotivated, or hopeless, you may be among the 11-17% of veterans who are experiencing post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) or other combat-related distress such as depression or anxiety. Research shows that the earlier a person addresses the symptoms of PTSD the more effectively the symptoms are reduced.

Common indicators of distress following traumatic events such as combat experience include:

  • Having recurrent intrusive memories or dreams of the traumatic event
  • Trying to avoid thinking or feeling emotions related to the traumatic event
  • Having difficulty concentrating
  • Feeling depressed or numb
  • Feeling detached from other people or isolating yourself
  • Having trouble sleeping
  • Having an exaggerated startle response
  • Feeling angry or irritable
  • Drinking alcohol in excess or using illegal drugs
  • Feeling hopeless, helpless, or unmotivated
  • Thinking about hurting yourself or ending your life

If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, consider finding ways to take care of yourself, including managing your physical health, emotional and mental health, and seeking support from others. Developing and maintaining connections with others is an important part of readjusting and coping with the stress of this transition. If you are feeling alone and misunderstood, look for ways to talk with family and friends about the difficulty of feeling connected to them. You may also seek out other veterans who can relate to your experiences and the challenges of returning to civilian life. UNH Veteran’s Support can help you make those connections. http://www.unh.edu/veterans/

The Counseling Center is another way of finding support on campus. We are here to help you better understand what you are experiencing and improve your ability to cope. Your initial appointment provides a space for you to talk about what feels difficult for you in this transition. You can then work with the counselor to determine your next step in feeling better. Call the Center to schedule an intake appointment (862-2090/TTY: 7-1-1 or 800-735-2964 Relay NH). If you are experiencing a crisis, you can contact us for immediate support via phone.

If you prefer, you can also contact the Veterans Crisis Line and you will be connected to qualified, supportive U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs responders through a confidential, free call line, text, or chat system. The system operates 24/7 and here is the contact info:

phone: 1-800-273-8255 (TALK) and pressing 1

website: http://veteranscrisisline.net/

text: 838255.

Thank you again for your service!

Further Resources:

Why We Can't Forget Older Homeless Veterans on Veterans Day