Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), not to be confused with traumatic brain injury (TBI), is another challenge facing many student veterans. This condition is often not readily apparent to those interacting with the student veterans and yet affects a person’s interaction with others and outlook on life as reported in a 2008 monograph entitled Invisible Wounds of War: Psychological and Cognitive Injuries, Their Consequences, and Services to Assist Recovery (Tanelian & Jaycox, 2008). Sometimes the symptoms do not immediately appear but may be delayed by “months or years”. This complicates the student veterans’ access to treatment because of the delay between the appearance of symptoms and military service. It can also affect student veterans’ academic performance.
Many student veterans return with Post-combat psychological injuries and sometimes with PTSD and the institutions to which they return need to be prepared to help them with the reintegration process:
Since the earliest record of warfare, the returning warrior has struggled to rejoin the society left behind. It has never been an easy transition, but the war on terror brings new and unanticipated complications for the combat veteran. New technology means survival for those who would have died in prior wars, yet that very survival is fraught with challenges we are only now learning to address.
A study of 2,530 soldiers indicates that “more than 40% of soldiers with injuries associated with loss of consciousness met the criteria for PTSD”.
There are reports that about 30% of the returning veterans will experience PTSD symptoms or diagnosis, with that percentage rising to 70% for those returning from a second deployment. The Millennium Cohort Study started in 2000, studied 77,047 military members for concerns related to health surrounding deployments and other service-connected experiences. The preliminary results indicate that 40% of the participants who reported combat exposure and were on active duty between 2001 and 2006 had three times the likelihood to experience PTSD symptoms or diagnosis.
This information indicates that veterans who return to campus are likely to need on-campus support beyond that of merely readjusting to the academic world. The implications of PTSD on psychological and sociological adjustments are still not fully understood by mental health experts but are an evolving discipline.
Veterans and Traumatic Brain Injury
Another consideration institutions must address is the way in which student veterans’ injuries will impact their studies. Institutions of higher education must be prepared to identify, recognise, and accommodate the unique needs of injured student veterans. Traumatic brain injury (TBI) has been identified by the Veterans’ Affairs as one of the “signature injuries” of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. TBI causes problems with thinking, memory, focus, and various other functions. Individuals who experience TBI often suffer from pain and mood disorders. The student veteran who enters college with the burden of TBI requires special support such as knowledge and training to manage symptoms and to “live, work, learn and socialise” in different conditions. Institutions that put support in place make themselves more attractive to the potential student veteran.
With our military out of Iraq and funding for global military operations on the decline, thousands of newly discharged men and women are trying to figure out “What’s next?” Most of our Soldiers, Marines, Airmen, and Sailors joined the military before their 21st birthday, and it’s often the only job they’ve ever held. While it’s […]
How HEI’s can respond to the needs of Veteran Students Student veterans are not a new presence on campus, but this population has the potential to increase as a result of the drawdown of conflict in Afghanistan and Iraq which will enable more veterans to participate in postsecondary education. The anticipated increase in the student […]
Because the student veteran population brings unique experiences to the learning stage it is important to develop programs which accommodate these experiences. Engagement Services identify colleges and universities as being in a good position to assist student veterans with their education and their reintegration into civilian society. At the 2019 Conference on Improving College Education […]
Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), not to be confused with traumatic brain injury (TBI), is another challenge facing many student veterans. This condition is often not readily apparent to those interacting with the student veterans and yet affects a person’s interaction with others and outlook on life as reported in a 2008 monograph entitled Invisible Wounds […]
Multiple definitions for what constitutes an adult learner exists. As early as 20 years ago, many described non-traditional students as including those who were employed full-time had dependents and were financially independent of their parents. Nontraditional college students have been identified as “adults beginning or continuing their enrollment as college students at a later-than-typical age”. […]
Transition involves reintegration into the civilian community after active duty service. The changes from life in the military community to life as a civilian may include relocation, loss of social support systems, reintegration into a civilian lifestyle, different or nonexistent health care services, and possibly a new job or career path. While adjusting to the […]