Do you know Veterans who may be distressed by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine? It’s possible that Veterans may be reminded of their own combat experiences, other stressful, traumatic events or simply have empathy for the people of Ukraine.
As a civilian Veteran Champion who has not experienced or understands combat-related conditions, consider these approaches:
- Do you know who the Service members and Veterans are in your community? Be on the look out for them and make an effort to get to know them. Thank them for their service and sacrifice.
- Start with small talk, let them take the conversation where they will, and when you know each other a bit better ask them their thoughts about the war in Ukraine. Use these tips to help you connect with Veterans – click here.
- Work at building trusting relationships with him/her and their family members by active sincere non- judgmental listening and doing what you say you are going to do.
- Know what to say to a Veteran who is struggling – click here.
- Introduce Veterans to other Veterans in your community. Most combat Veterans will only talk about their experiences with other combat Veterans.
- Invite Veterans to community activities (and go with them) to meet new people and foster community connections. This could be sports groups, civic groups, book clubs etc.
- Ask your faith community leaders how (if) they support military families. If they are wiling to learn more, ask if they would partner with you to start a “Military Ministry.” These groups offer practical support, foster a sense of belonging and promote spiritual resiliency. Learn more, here. Join me for monthly 1-hour virtual coaching calls – Military Ministries Matter – on Sunday evenings. Register here.
- Stay engaged in the lives of military families by being neighborly, kind and supportive. Most appreciate this relationship building as they feel disconnected from civilian society and miss the camaraderie of the military.
- Know Veteran community resources. For instance: the Veterans crisis line at 1-800-273-8255 (press 1) or text 838255, Vet centers (1-800-WAR-VETS where over 70% of the staff are Veterans) or the VA’s mental health services online at www.MentalHealth.va.gov or click here.
- Refer Veterans to the March 1, 2022 U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs “Resources available to Veterans experiencing emotional distress due to recent world events.” Click here.