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Some veterans’ mental health at risk during COVID-19

Local veterans made the ultimate sacrifice to serve their community. Now, a group made up of their service brothers and sisters want to make sure they're okay.
Updated: Apr. 15, 2020 at 5:26 PM EDT
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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - Our local veterans have made the ultimate sacrifice to serve their community. Now, a group made up of their service brothers and sisters want to make sure they are all taken care of while at home.

For some local veterans, spending time outside, meeting in groups and working can be the cure to overcome PTSD and isolation. However, veteran and therapist Will Creasman said due to COVID-19 the exact opposite has been prescribed.

"Unfortunately social distancing is costing their mental health,” Creasman said. “Seventy-five percent of veterans are currently struggling.”

He’s seen a lost sense of purpose and drive and an increase in anxiety from losing jobs, homes and a social life. Although, there’s help through Telehealth and online services, Creasman said some veterans need the in-person comfort. The same comfort Jeremy Harrell was able to provide before the pandemic.

“They’re starting to have a lot more anger in regards to the restrictions and not getting back to life,” Harrell said.

Harrell is a veteran and founder of the Veteran’s Club. He said although screen help isn’t the same as a hug or an eye-to-eye connection, it’s something and it’s needed in this moment.

“Sometimes we will take the back burner and think people need to reach out more and utilize other services more than we do,” Creasman said.

The club is providing weekly Zoom support calls on its Facebook page. Vets can also message the page to reach an on-call support counselor who will connect them with long term care. Creasman said if a vet is suffering they need to reach out, even if it’s just through a screen.

"I have a lot of veterans who didn’t even know they needed to vent and talk until they were already doing it,” Creasman said.

He also said veterans need their community’s help to do what they can to flatten the curve and help preserve the mental health of everyone.

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