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Support for Veterans Experiencing Mental Health Concerns.

​Since 2010, deaths by suicide among veterans has surpassed the number of combat-related deaths during the wars in Vietnam, Iraq, and Afghanistan combined.

During the State of the Union, President Joe Biden highlighted mental health concerns among the United States Population. The address was covered by “The Morning Meeting with Al Tompkins,” who summarized some important areas of focus.

One area of particular emphasis was the mental health and elevated suicide rate among United States military veteran populations. Since 2010, the number of deaths by suicide among United States veterans has surpassed the number of combat-related deaths during the war in Vietnam, as well as the Iraq and Afghanistan military operations combined. Tompkins goes on to highlight White House Advisors’ commentary on the mental health concerns and suicide rate among Veterans, mentioning that it has been called a “public health and national security crisis”.

The address highlights a call for increased government spending to increase support for veterans experiencing mental health concerns secondary to their military service. For veterans who may be experiencing distress, receiving professional psychological support may be an important protective factor and may help support veterans in managing mental health symptoms. Among evidence-based treatment options, cognitive behavioral therapy has shown strong evidence in supporting suicide prevention (e.g., Brown et al., 2016; Rudd et al., 2015) among military veteran populations. Given the mental health impacts of military service that many veterans may experience, awareness of effective treatments and protective measures is of utmost importance.  For resources and specialists in CBT, you can try our “Get Help” feature to search for providers.

Article written by Dominique Legros, M.A.


Brown, G. K., Karlin, B. E., Trockel, M., Gordienko, M., Yesavage, J., & Taylor, C. B. (2016). Effectiveness of cognitive behavioral therapy for veterans with depression and suicidal ideation. Archives of Suicide Research, 20(4), 677–682.

Rudd, M. D., Bryan, C. J., Wertenberger, E. G., Peterson, A. L., Young-McCaughan, S., Mintz, J., Williams, S. R., Arne, K. A., Breitbach, J., Delano, K., Wilkinson, E., & Bruce, T. O. (2015). Brief cognitive-behavioral therapy effects on post-treatment suicide attempts in a military sample: Results of a randomized clinical trial with 2-year follow-up. American Journal of Psychiatry, 172(5), 441–449.


What Is Cognitive Behavior Therapy?

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy is a type of treatment that is based firmly on research findings.  It places emphasis on changing your cognitions (thoughts) or behaviors (actions) in order to effect change in how you feel. These approaches help people in achieving specific changes or goals.

Changes or goals might involve:

A way of acting: like smoking less or being more outgoing;
A way of feeling: like helping a person to be less scared, less depressed, or less anxious;
A way of thinking: like learning to problem-solve or get rid of self-defeating thoughts;
A way of dealing with physical or medical problems: like reducing back pain or helping a person stick to a doctor’s suggestions.

Cognitive behavioral therapists usually focus more on the current situation and its solution, rather than the past. They concentrate on a person’s views and beliefs about their life. CBT is an effective treatment for individuals, parents, children, couples, and families. The goal of CBT is to help people improve and gain more control over their lives by changing behaviors that don’t work well to ones that do.

How to Get Help

If you are looking for help, either for yourself or someone else, you may be tempted to call someone who advertises in a local publication or who comes up from a search of the Internet. You may, or may not, find a competent therapist in this manner. It is wise to check on the credentials of a psychotherapist. It is expected that competent therapists hold advanced academic degrees. They should be listed as members of professional organizations, such as the Association for Behavioral and Cognitive Therapies or the American Psychological Association. Of course, they should be licensed to practice in your state. You can find competent specialists who are affiliated with local universities or mental health facilities or who are listed on the websites of professional organizations. You may, of course, visit our website ( and click on “Find a CBT Therapist”

The Association for Behavioral and Cognitive Therapies (ABCT) is an interdisciplinary organization committed to the advancement of a scientific approach to the understanding and amelioration of problems of the human condition. These aims are achieved through the investigation and application of behavioral, cognitive, and other evidence-based principles to assessment, prevention, and treatment.

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