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There Are Many Barriers to Accessing Services

Navigating the myriad of service providers and bureaucracy can be a frustrating and time consuming process that far too many veterans and their families give up on. Ongoing mental and behavioral health services to assist returning veterans and families transition to civilian life are often hard to access and under-resourced –especially after separation from the military.

  • One of the most often identified barriers to accessing is stigma. Soldiers express concern about disclosing psychiatric difficulties to military mental health professionals (Friedman, 2005; Hoge et al., 2004) and that they will be viewed or treated differently by peers or leaders if they are known to be receiving mental health treatment (Hoge et al., 2004).

  • Returning soldiers and families fear breach of confidentiality leading to reprisal by the military if they access services.

  • Appointments are often made during work hours and individuals are unable to get time off work (Hoge et al.,

    • 2004)

      .

  • Lack of available and accessible transportation to travel to the location where care is available (Hoge et al.,

    • 2004)

      .

  • Returning veterans and families are often unaware of what resources are available and how to access them.

  • There are a limited number of providers having expertise with working with returning soldiers and family members. Soldiers often feel that civilians do not and cannot understand the stressors experienced by them (Hoge et al., 2004).

  • There is a limited availability of services and/or providers who have expertise working with children of deployed soldiers.

  • There is a limited availability of services and/or providers who have expertise in working with parents of deployed soldiers.

  • There is a limited availability of services and/or providers who have expertise in working with culturally diverse

service members and families.

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