Text and information from VA News (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Veterans from all eras are reacting to the events in Afghanistan, such as the U.S withdrawal and the takeover by the Taliban.
You are not alone.
Veterans may question the meaning of their service or whether it was worth the sacrifices they made. They may feel more moral distress about experiences they had during their service. It’s normal to feel this way. Talk with your friends and families, reach out to battle buddies, connect with a peer-to-peer network, or sign up for mental health services. Scroll down for a list common reactions and coping advice.
Resources available right now
Common Reactions In reaction to current events in Afghanistan, Veterans may:
Veterans may feel like they need to expect and/or prepare for the worst. For example, they may:
Strategies for Managing Ongoing DistressAt this moment, it may seem like all is lost, like your service or your sacrifices were for nothing. Consider the ways that your service made a difference, the impact it had on others’ lives or on your own life. Remember that now is just one moment in time and that things will continue to change.
It can be helpful to focus on the present and to engage in the activities that are most meaningful and valuable to you. Is there something you can do today that is important to you? This can be as an individual, a family member, a parent, or a community member. Something that is meaningful to you in regard to your work or your spirituality? Such activities won’t change the past or the things you can’t control, but they can help life feel meaningful and reduce distress, despite the things you cannot change.
It can also help to consider your thinking. Ask yourself if your thoughts are helpful to you right now. Are there ways you can change your thinking to be more accurate and less distressing? For example, are you using extreme thinking where you see the situation as all bad or all good? If so, try and think in less extreme terms. For example, rather than thinking “my service in Afghanistan was useless” consider instead “I helped keep Afghanistan safe.”
Finally, consider more general coping strategies that you may want to try including:
Afghanistan: How Veterans can reconcile service READ MORE
Afghanistan: How Veterans can learn from Vietnam Veterans READ MORE
Financial support links and mutual aid resources
(Most of these are local to Minneapolis/St. Paul, Minnesota)
Minnesota Unemployment Insurance:
United Way COVID-19 emergency relief fund for rent and other essentials. They are giving funds to local agencies who are distributing them:
Call 1-866-211-9966 and provide your zipcode to be given a list of local agencies to provide assistance
Minnesota Immigrant Families COVID-19 Fund. This is still fundraising and not ready for disbursement yet but here are current details: https://www.gofundme.com/f/mn-immigrant-families-covid19- fund?utm_source=facebook&utm_medium=social&utm_campaign=p_cp+share- sheet&fbclid=IwAR1MOhxohV6- Qj0NFpRugrCvDENq8tzUwEb8pKBh3fpr_SswoHSesdrhz5M
Women for political change fund. Applicants need to be people under 30 who identify as a woman, trans person, and/or gender non-conforming person people under 30 who identify as a woman, trans person, and/or gender non-conforming person: https://secure.everyaction.com/sv45KFCFJ0mqutj0dfQzxg2
Bartender emergency assistance program. You need to have been a bartender for at least a year prior to application (applies to full time and part time). https://www.usbgfoundation.org/beap?fbclid=IwAR2H7xHs9aJluhQAIUcyZ_Kz3rJH- D0QdJW-iliGFLNq1PcFI_Pm0CoIyVA
Twin Cities Democatic Socialists for America Solidarity Fund:
Resources for Artists and Creative Workers:
Arts and Culture Leaders of Color Emergency Fund:
https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSfv4AazvLFVUNAgXoxqBqfZ7jJVkrMroa- CET6Vt6XygR- CaQ/viewform?fbclid=IwAR3EDcf_apyzuFqkxppJNB0UuwI4hShOETA_6tp3863oWjFaZ pfhWI8vOuY
Sex Workers Harm Reduction Resources:
South Minneapolis Mutual Aid:
https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1ZSLDZY4DD85gnGXTAeLtKCxofdOHRcX4z YWAQf7A_GU/edit?fbclid=IwAR3FjUklDE1ThUVfPuL1YFELJo01log5mPURVeZjDqQ0 KYjQj_OgV1Uu4rM#gid=0
Twin Cities Mutual Aid: Neighbors Supporting Each Other:
Twin Cities Queer and Trans Mutual Aid:
MN Disabled/Elder/Caregiver Mutual Aid
If you are uninsured (health insurance), there is a special enrollment period that opened up to respond to this emergency: https://www.mnsure.org/news-room/news/index.jsp?id=34- 423931&fbclid=IwAR3Upwk9i7aBzrr95o5pzc3AAQ1xoD9PHqVBF9HKoBBpFs-LAf- BF_wKgaI
Database of localized resources during COVID-19 outbreak:
** Thanks to Alex Iantaffi, PhD, MS, SEP, CST, LMFT at Edges Wellness Center LLC for this information.
I would like to remind you of a few things during this time of physical distancing.
Please try to:
** Thanks to Alex Iantaffi, PhD, MS, SEP, CST, LMFT at Edges Wellness Center LLC for this information.
Best Practices for Telehealth
As we adapt to our new and ever-changing circumstances, we want to share the BEST PRACTICES FOR TELEHEALTH appointments (online/video appointments).
1. GET READY. Schedule 10 minutes before your session to review instructions and make sure that your connection is working well. Make sure your device is charged and your charger is nearby. Headphones are helpful for the best sound quality and for added privacy.
2. MINIMIZE DISTRACTIONS. Try to find a quiet place to meet. If you live with others, notify them that you will be on a private call. Turn off music and the television so it does not disturb your session.
3. OPTIMIZE THE CONNECTION. Set up your device on a stable and flat surface. This eliminates shakiness in the video. Try to have your face fully in the frame. Close extra tabs in your browser and other applications to optimize your connection.
4. KEEP CALM. Tech issues are normal as everyone adjusts. Keep in touch with your therapist via phone, email or text to sort out connection problems. If a video call stops working, try reconnecting. If the reconnection does not work, text your therapist to get further instructions.
5. GET COMFY. Grab a hot beverage and a comfortable place to sit. Try to stay in one place during your session as you would if you were in the office.
6. CONNECT AS NORMAL. Look into your therapist’s eyes as you normally would. Try not to look at the camera or your own face. Treat the session just as you would a normal session. Online therapy can feel just as personal as in-person sessions.
**Adapted from Emma Donovan’s “Tips for Successful Online Therapy Sessions”
Working from Home Mindfully
Tips for Working from Home Mindfullly:
7 Key Tips for Working From Home, Mindfully
Attend an AA Meeting
Attend an online AA meeting:
On the Frontlines, for Healthcare Professionals
If you know a healthcare professional, first responder, grocery store employee, let them know that there is online therapy available for them at a reduced cost. This is a volunteer created and volunteer run website that connects these first responders with therapists at a reduced cost. https://www.coronavirusonlinetherapy.com
Shopping Hours for Vulnerable Individuals:
If you are a high risk individual (Over 60 and/or immunosuppressed) many Twin Cities grocery stores are offering hours for elders, health care providers and immunosuppressed. Here is a list that we have found (Please verify this before going to the store):
Lunds & Byerlys: Daily 7 AM to 8 AM.
Hy-Vee: Daily, 7 AM to 8 AM
Cub: Daily, 6 AM to 7 AM
Wal-Mart: Seniors Only, Tuesdays, one hour before opening. Pharmacies and Vision Centers are open during this time.
Target: Wednesdays, One hour prior to store opening.
Walgreens: Tuesdays, 8 AM to 9 AM
Whole Foods: One hour prior to store opening.
Costco: Tuesday & Thursday, 9 AM to 10 AM
Please note that many stores offer curbside service when you shop online.
There are plenty of ACTIVITIES to do while working/schooling from home. I’ve been calling it pandemic activities:
Good Housekeeping posted:
Bored at Home? Here's a Massive List of Museums, Zoos, and Theme Parks Offering Virtual Tours
All the virtual concerts, plays, museums and other culture you can enjoy from home
Travel and Leisure posted:
Stuck at Home? These 12 Famous Museums Offer Virtual Tours You Can Take on Your Couch
Tour National Parks:
Amnesty International posted
6 things to do while at home during COVID-19 pandemic: https://www.amnesty.org/en/latest/campaigns/2020/03/what-to-do-at-home-during-covid-19-pandemic/
USA Today posted
100 things to do while stuck inside due to a pandemic:
Take a ride on these virtual Disney World rides:
Coloring Books from 119 Museums:
Additional Activities for Children.
Add links to your resources below. Thanks for your support!
We see and hear a lot about depression. Actually, as I write I see a anti-depressant medication commercial on television. Everyone has ups and downs in mood, but, how do you know that it is depression? Here are some signs of depression:
1. Hopelessness. It's more than the problem at hand. With depression, it's about having a feeling that nothing will get better and there is nothing you can do about it.
2. Loss of Interest in Daily Activities. Maybe there are activities and/or hobbies that you used to enjoy. Do you still find enjoyment from those activities? Or, have you lost the ability to find enjoyment from those things? If you have a hard time finding enjoyment in activities you once enjoyed, you might be suffering from depression.
3. Anger and/or Irritability. Feeling angry or irritable is often a symptom of another problem. With depression, your temper could be short and things can easily get on your nerves. Anger and irritability is a symptom of being unhappy.
4. Fatigue. Do you find yourself to be tired and/or physically drained? With depression - normal everyday tasks can be tiring and draining.
5. Low Self Esteem. If you experience strong feelings of guilt or worthlessness, you may be suffering from depression. If you harshly criticize yourself for a fault or mistake, it could be a sign that something else is going on.
6. Concentration Problems. Trouble focusing, making decisions or remembering things are all signs of depression.
7. Appetite Changes. If you notice a significant weight loss or weight gain - it may be due to a change in appetite.
8. Suicidal Thoughts. If you are thinking about suicide, you likely have depression.
There's help for depression. I would be happy to see you in my office and help you get the help you need, call and make an appointment: 612.889.7517. If you are reading this and you are not in the Minneapolis-St. Paul Metro Area, you can find a therapist in your area by going to www.psychologytoday.com, click on "Find a Therapist." If you need to talk with someone right now, call 1.800.273.TALK.
Health insurance can be confusing. When it comes to therapy, you might need to call you insurance company and find out what is covered. Make sure you get the answers you need by following this example: (Download this Worksheet)
"My name is ____. I'm interested in going to Brave Choices, Inc. for help with my mental health and I am calling to verify my benefits. First, I would like some general information."
Policy Effective Date: _______
Office Visit Co Pay: ____
Out of Pocket Max: ____
Do my deductibles, co-pays and co-insurance apply toward my out of pocket max? ____
How much of my deductible have I spent this year? ____
Do I need a referral to see a mental health/behavioral health therapist? ____
If yes, who needs to refer me? ____
Is Brave Choices, Inc. and/or my provider is in-network? ____
If not, how does my insurance work if Brave Choices, Inc. and/or my provider is out of network? ____
The clinic usually uses CPT codes 90834 and 90837 for these services.
What's my co-pay/co-insurance? ____
Is there a limit on the number of sessions per year? ____
If so, how many individual therapy sessions per year? ____
Is authorization required for individual therapy? ____
Lastly, ask for the representative's name: ____