The day a military service member returns home from active duty is often filled with an array of emotions. Many times, joy is prevalent, both for the veteran and their family and friends. Hearts burst with happiness and minds feel relief, but behind it all there is all too often a sense of anxiety. The transition from the structure of military life can be a monumental challenge to many and while there are organizations in place to aid in their progress, the individuals most needful of aid often don’t receive the benefits they need.
Whether moving in with family or living alone, some service members may find establishing themselves for the first time as a civilian a daunting prospect. Joining the service directly out of school has its career and financial benefits, but also postpones many “firsts” that their peers experience after leaving their childhood home.
- Arranging housing and utilities – renting or buying a home, along with setting up the necessary utilities, can seem overwhelming after years of assigned housing.
- Creating a personal network of doctors, dentists, and insurance providers – medical treatment, even if handled by the Department of Veterans Affairs, can involve a mountain of paperwork and documentation.
- Shopping for clothes and other amenities – can demoralize even an experienced shopper when venturing into unfamiliar territory with such a vast array available.
- Job hunting – the process of creating a resume, applying, and interviewing for civilian jobs may be an entirely new experience. There are many skills to be honed and a service member may easily become disheartened by the difficulties encountered.
- Entering a new community and making connections – after relationships that were assigned, establishing new, personal relationships can seem an insurmountable challenge.
As with any relationship, many of the emotional difficulties faced by service members are worsened by a lack of trust. While serving, veterans learn to trust their team members in all circumstances. When they leave active duty, they may feel they no longer have the support they once counted on, along with a host of other concerns.
- Moving from an organization reliant on uniformity to a society that often rewards differences can be confusing and scary. If there are physical or mental scars, they can become the focus of what one cannot do, rather than working to find what one can
- They may have issues with their self-esteem – with the loss of structure and titles held may come a loss of identity and sense of purpose.
- Emotional and physical pain, at times, leads to unwanted addictions. Coupled with an inadequate support network, this can lead to homelessness and struggles with mental health.
- Relating to people without military experience can lead to further trust insecurities, as many civilians have no way of understanding what the veteran has lived through.
- Survivors’ Guilt can have a devastating effect on one’s mental health, including the feeling that they are not worthy of feeling any relief or happiness.
Christopher Reeve once said, “A hero is an ordinary individual who finds the strength to persevere and endure despite overwhelming obstacles.” There are numerous organizations focused on helping veteran heroes with their transition to civilian life. Helping them see their abilities, not focusing on their disabilities, and setting up housing opportunities are just a few of them.
Life Startup Essentials is here to help ease the transition to a new beginning by supplying starter kits for new homes. These kits are available to both service agencies as well as individuals needing the essentials for an apartment or new housing. With pre-made and custom kits to fit every need, we have something to fit every lifestyle. Browse our selection of kits and items and enjoy the convenience of having everything you or your clients might need right at your fingertips!