The Nevada Department of Veterans Services recently hosted its first ever Nevada Transition Assistance Program (NVTAP) in-person event that had military members learn about support resources available to them while they transition back to civilian life. The event was held at the Army National Guard North Las Vegas Readiness Center and focused on the benefits, programs, and resources available to veterans in the state that they earned thanks to their military service. According to the Nevada Department of Veterans Services, NVTAP’s purpose is to ensure veterans of all eras, and their families are prepared for the next step in civilian life. The resources range from providing basic needs, like housing and employment, to information for continuing education, financial services, and mental health support.
There are a myriad of challenges that veterans experience as they finish their years of military service. The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs listed some of the common challenges such as, trying to reconnect and re-establishing a role in the family; relating to people who do not know or understand what military personnel have experienced; entering the workforce and/or returning to a previous job; creating structure; and adjusting to a different pace of life and work.
According to the American Addiction Centers Oxford Treatment Center military life had; a clear formal structure that does not exist elsewhere; all basic needs such as food, shelter, clothing, and medical care met; no room for personal choice; expectations of mission completion; and requires more direct communication styles than civilian life. When veterans thankfully do not have to deal with the mental hardships of PTSD suffered from the horrors of war, many still have to shift from having a structured routine and find a new purpose in life for themselves. Oftentimes people who transition from the rigid structure of military life can feel a loss of purpose, of identity, experience conflict with family and friends, as well as struggle with civilian employment.
Another layer of challenges exists for veterans, depending on the era in which they served in the military. According to the Pew Research Center, post-9/11 veterans faced more challenges than their predecessors in transitioning to civilian life and were more likely to report having negative experiences throughout their time of service. The survey stated that post-9/11 veterans were more likely, at 23 percent, than those who served in earlier eras, at 6 percent, to say they frequently had difficulty dealing with the lack of structure in civilian life. In comparison to their pre-9/11 counterparts, post-9/11 veterans often reported lower feelings of pride about their service, less optimism about their future, and feeling disconnected from family or friends.
However, as the years progress, more people are realizing the struggles veterans often face after their years of service end. More programs and services like The Nevada Transition Assistance Program are being created and there are even some online resources like the Military Times guide for veterans to help navigate the process of coming home. Any veterans or loved ones of a veteran in Washoe County that may need assistance in the transition to civilian life, visit https://veterans.nv.gov/ to learn more about the support and resources available.