Mental health resources available for veterans of Afghanistan war

John Richmeier
The Leavenworth Times

An official with the Department of Veterans Affairs hospital in Leavenworth says resources are available for veterans of the war in Afghanistan who may be struggling with news of recent events in that country.

"We have some veterans that are kind of frustrated with the situation," said Joseph Burks, chief of communications and public relations for the VA Eastern Kansas Health Care System.

The VA Eastern Kansas Health Care System includes the Eisenhower VA Medical Center in Leavenworth.

The U.S. military completed its withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan on Monday. However, President Joe Biden has acknowledged there are Americans who remain in Afghanistan, which is in the control of the Taliban.

Biden said Tuesday that his administration remains committed to getting Americans out of Afghanistan if they wish to leave the country.

An Aug. 17 post on the Facebook page for the Leavenworth VA hospital states veterans of the 20-year war in Afghanistan may question the meaning of their service or whether the sacrifices they made were worth it. The post encourages veterans to talk with friends and family members, reach out to battle buddies, connect with peer-to-peer networks or sign up for mental health services.

"We want to let them know that resources are available," Burks said. "We don't want them to take this on themselves."

The Facebook page for the Leavenworth hospital lists resources that are available.

Veterans who are having thoughts of suicide can call the veterans crisis line at 1-800-273-8255, and then press 1. Veterans also can visit the website www.veteranscrisisline.net.

Veterans can go to the VA hospital at any time of day for emergency mental health care regardless of their discharge status or enrollment in other VA health care.

Veterans also can discuss how they feel with other veterans at community-based counseling centers. They can call 1-877-927-8387 for more information.

Veterans also can visit the website MakeTheConnection.net for more information and resources.

Twitter: @LVTNewsJohnR