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Start the Conversation

It's important to share your concerns when a Veteran in your life seems to be experiencing mental health challenges or is in crisis

Family members, friends and those close to Veterans are often the first to notice signs that a Veteran is going through challenges.

When you notice changes in a Veteran's behaviors, attitudes or moods, it's a good time to offer your support. Have a conversation about your concerns, and let the Veteran know you’re there for them.

Ask Thoughtful Questions

First, focus on your own observations and share your feelings:

  • “I’ve noticed you’ve been acting differently lately, and I’m wondering how you’re doing.”
  • “I wanted to check in with you because you haven’t seemed like yourself recently.”
  • “I’ve been worried about you lately.”

Once you’ve started the conversation, you can ask follow-up questions:

  • “When did you first start feeling like this?”
  • “Did something happen that made you begin to feel this way?”
  • “What can I do to best support you right now?”
  • “Have you thought about getting help?”

Provide Encouragement

Offer the Veteran your support and some encouraging words:

  • “You’re not alone, even if you feel like you are. I’m here for you, and I want to help you in any way I can.”
  • “It may not seem possible right now, but the way you’re feeling will change.”
  • “I might not be able to understand exactly what you’re going through or how you feel, but I care about you and want to help.”
  • “When you want to give up, or feel overwhelmed by emotion, try to just focus on getting through the next minute, hour, or day — whatever you can manage.”

Learn About the Conditions That May Be Affecting Them

It’s beneficial to learn about mental health conditions before you talk with a Veteran in your life. This knowledge can help you understand the Veteran’s experiences and the kind of care they may need. Learn about some of the mental health conditions that may affect Veterans

If you believe your Veteran loved one needs professional help, reach out now. Getting support or treatment as soon as possible can prevent symptoms from getting worse.

Support for Family Members and Friends

When you support a Veteran in your life, you may need tools to support yourself too — including further information about mental health conditions, coping methods and programs and services.

Learn More

Every day, Veterans from all military service branches and eras connect with proven resources and effective treatments. Here’s how to take the next step: the one that’s right for you.

New to VA? Apply for health care benefits.

Already enrolled in VA and interested in mental health support? Schedule a mental health appointment.

  • If you’re already enrolled and using VA health care, the fastest way to schedule VA appointments is to call the VA facility where you want to receive care.
  • With VA Appointments tools, you can schedule some VA health care appointments online, view details about upcoming appointments, and organize your health care calendar.
  • If you’re not using VA medical services, contact your nearest VA medical center or Vet Center to talk about your needs.

What about other options at VA? VA offers a variety of tools and resources 

  • The Veteran Training online self-help portal for overcoming everyday challenges includes modules on managing anger, developing parenting and problem-solving skills, and more.
  • Mental health apps for Veterans cover a variety of topics, ranging from PTSD to anger management to quitting smoking.
  • VA TeleMental Health connects you with a VA mental health provider through a computer or mobile device in your home or at your nearest VA health facility. You can learn more about this option from your local VA medical center.
  • Community-based Vet Centers provide confidential counseling, community engagement and referral services to eligible individuals and their families. You don’t need to be enrolled in VA healthcare or have a service connection to receive services. Find a Vet Center near you or call 1-877-927-8387, 24/7 to talk with a fellow Veteran about your experiences.

What about support beyond VA?
There’s a whole community of support ready to help with whatever you’re going through. Use this tool to find resources near you.

Additional Resources

Self-Help Tools logo

Self-Help Tools

Veterans can access online courses that provide instruction and training in problem-solving, parenting, anger management, sleeping better, managing stress and more.

View Resource
Mental Health Apps for Veterans logo

Mental Health Apps for Veterans

These apps equip you with tools and information to assist you in managing symptoms and stresses, learning to practice mindfulness and strengthening parenting skills. 

View Resource
Veterans Crisis Line logo

Veterans Crisis Line

Are you a Veteran in crisis or concerned about one? Connect with the Veterans Crisis Line to reach caring, qualified responders with the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. Many of them are Veterans themselves. Free support is confidential and available 24/7. Dial 988 then Press 1, chat here or text 838255.

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