Help for Afghanistan Veterans and families

Help for Afghanistan Veterans and families2022-08-17T10:50:19-04:00

This is a four-part series about Afghanistan Veterans and how they can get help through VA. The first part discusses how Veterans can reconcile their service. The second part of this series focuses on how those who served in Afghanistan can learn from those who served in Vietnam. The third part of this series focuses on spouses and caregivers, who are often on the front lines of helping a Veteran deal with posttraumatic stress disorder, or PTSD. Finally, the last part of this series focuses on resources available for PTSD. While this series is focused on Afghanistan Veterans, options apply to all Veterans. We’re publishing one part of the series on each Tuesday of the month of August 2021.

Reconciling Service

“Our purpose for being there was to prevent further attacks on the homeland,” said Senior Enlisted Advisor to the Chairman Ramón “CZ” Colón-López. “We wanted to make sure that we denied Al Qaeda, specifically, of sanctuary, training ground and places where they could plan terrorism attacks. If you look at the past 20 years, that is exactly what we did. There hasn’t been a single attack on the homeland. They will think twice about doing it because of our actions over the past 20 years. For our Veterans, be proud of what you did, because you have kept the country safe over the last 20 years.”

Learning from Vietnam Veterans

“I’ve got Vietnam Veterans who are still coming here, not because we failed to resolve any issue in their life, but because they found a home in the community,” said Joe Lasky, director of the Las Vegas Vet Center. “They found friendships and a way to come talk and deal with issues that may have started in Vietnam, but now affect their current health. Because Vet Centers are readjustment counseling, that’s defined by every Veteran who comes in here.”

Spouses and caregivers supporting Veterans with PTSD

Senior Enlisted Advisor to the Chairman Ramón “CZ” Colón-López was one of those who deployed to Afghanistan. He battled PTSD for years before his wife, Janet, helped him realize he needed treatment. He said he’s proof that a spouse or caregiver can help a Veteran.

“Don’t let us get away with it,” he said. “Do what Janet did and push us to get help. Hell, drive us to the damn clinic. Do yourself a favor and go ahead and make sure you seek the help that you need.”


“We don’t think twice about putting weapon systems in maintenance because we need them,” Colón-López said. “We run quality control checks on everything. But the one decisive advantage we have as a U.S. military is the human weapon system. This is no different, so we need to make sure we take care of everything that we can right now as we draw down in Afghanistan. This is our depot maintenance period.”

VA Resources

  • Vet Centers – Discuss how you feel with other Veterans in these community-based counseling centers. 70% of Vet Center staff are Veterans. Call 1-877-927-8387 or find one near you.
  • Veterans Crisis Line – If you are having thoughts of suicide, dial 988 then Press 1, or visit
    • For emergency mental health care, you can also go directly to your local VA medical center 24/7 regardless of your discharge status or enrollment in other VA health care.
  • VA Women Veterans Call Center – Call or text 1-855-829-6636 (M-F 8AM – 10PM & SAT 8AM – 6:30PM ET)
  • VA Caregiver Support Line – Call 1-855-260-3274 (M-F 8AM – 10PM & SAT 8AM – 5PM ET)
  • Download VA’s self-help apps – Tools to help deal with common reactions like, stress, sadness, and anxiety. You can also track your symptoms over time.
  • VA Mental Health Services Guide – This guide will help you sign up and access mental health services.
  • – information, resources, and Veteran to Veteran videos for challenging life events and experiences with mental health issues.

Community Resources

Veteran Service Organizations

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