Debunking the myths about veterans’ mental health

Mental Health is currently a major topic with our world being turned upside down by COVID-19. With the isolation, disruption to routines and overload of negative news coverage, it’s not surprising. Whilst this topic is fresh in people’s minds we thought it would be a good time to discuss some of the myths surrounding mental health. Research carried out by the Department of Veterans’ Affairs with Veterans has shown there are a number of myths about veterans’ mental health. This article looks at the real facts!

MYTH: There is no connection between physical and mental health

FACT: The relationship between physical and mental health is real. People with chronic mental health problems often suffer from poor physical health, while many mental health problems can be linked to an individual’s response to a physical illness.

MYTH: PTSD is the most significant mental health problem of veterans

FACT: While PTSD has received a lot of attention over the last decade, alchol and drug related problems, along with depression and anxiety, also have significant impact on veterans, their families and the wider community. Many veterans experience more than one mental health problem at any given time.

MYTH: Mental health problems are caused by personal weakness

FACT: Mental health problems are not character flaws. It has nothing to do with being weak or lacking will-power. Although people with mental health problems can play a big part in their own recovery, they did not choose to become unwell, they are no lazy and they cannot just “snap out of it”.

MYTH: People with mental health problems are malingerers and unreliable.

FACT: Many individuals with mental health problems can have difficulty coping with day-to-day living. Just as the symptoms of physical health problem may affect the ability to do things, so may the symptoms of a mental health problem. This does not make someone a malingerer or unreliable person.

MYTH: ‘Real men’ don’t talk about their problems or ask for help – counselling is for wimps. 

FACT: Men and women of all ages and all walks of life seek effective help from a variety of mental health professionals; including counsellors, psychologists and psychiatrists. Finding and accepting help are signs of coping and of preventing situations getting worse.

MYTH: Alcohol works better than medication. 

FACT: People with mental health problems need to be extremely careful with alcohol and stay within the low risk guidelines. The fact is, alcohol may make problems with mood and sleep worse. Also, it may interact in harmful ways with medication prescribed for mental health problems.

MYTH: People with mental health problems never get better.  

FACT: With the right kind of help, most people do recover and lead healthy, productive, and satisfying lives.

So where to from here?

  1. Talk to your doctor or health professional
  2. Call Open Arms about counselling and their group programs 1800 011 046

More information and help is also available at:




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