One Therapist’s Perspective on Veterans and being a Veteran By: Jonna Board, LMFT, Adult IOP Therapist, 2Lt Jonna Board, Equal Opportunities Officer, Minnesota Air Force National Guard

Nov 11, 2013 by Jonna Board, LMFT

It has been several years now since I have worked with the Beyond the Yellow Ribbon Campaign helping soldiers and their families during and after deployments for the MN National Guard.  However, the mission to continue to support Veterans and their families in this way has continued for me whether in my civilian job, during drill weekends, on deployments, or even by supporting other friends and family members.  I have received several phone calls just in the past few months from individuals inquiring on how to support their family member who seems to be struggling with reintegrating.  As a therapist, my first advice is to always encourage individuals to never be afraid to ask a soldier struggling about if they have any thoughts of Suicide.  There continues to be this fear in society that by asking you will put the idea in their head, which simply isn’t true, the most important thing to do is simply ask.  I also encourage family and friends to make sure they stay involved in their soldiers lives.  I know individuals who play video games with their soldier via the web, make sure they workout with their soldiers, actively seek mental health treatment with their loved one, but really spending time with them, listening to them/us means the world.  I am continuously amazed that whenever I leave for military training or a deployment it always takes me longer than I think to readjust.  I am thankful to have the training I do, that I work for an employer who supports my military career, and that my family and friends continue to actively participate in my life both when I am away and when I return home.  However, whether Veterans have support or not the transition is never an easy one.  I have heard through the years that when the soldiers get home the real battle begins.  I strongly believe that it our responsibility in the mental health field to support veterans and their families not just during deployments but the months and years to follow.  Below is a list of resources that I have found to be helpful:

Jonna Board, LMFT, Adult IOP Therapist, PrairieCare

2Lt Jonna Board, Equal Opportunities Officer, Minnesota Air Force National Guard

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