Challenges of transitioning.
Whether you did a single three-year stint, or you’re getting ready to retire, transitioning from the military to civilian life is very challenging. While it is an exciting time, with new prospects, there are also a lot of uncertainties involved with the transition, and that can be a little scary. The goal of this article is to give some guidance on the task of transitioning out of the military. With a bit of help, and with a lot of patience, you can ensure that you are not entering civilian life blindly. There are plenty of helpful resources for soldiers that are leaving the military. Countless websites are offering great advice, as well as organizations like the M.W.R., which was designed to help veterans and their families. You are not alone at this life-changing time. Below you’ll find a list of many resources you’ll have access to as a veteran. Before we get to the list of resources, let’s discuss a few simple tips to help your transition go as smoothly as possible.
Keep it Simple
Anyone that has spent more than a day in the military has probably heard the acronym K.I.S.S. or Keep It Simple Soldier. This is actually great advice when it comes to moving from military life to civilian life. Frequently, the worst part about the transition is the chaos that tends to ensue. You’re moving, you’re starting a new job, and your family is learning to adjust. It can all be a bit much. That’s why it is better to keep things simple. If you don’t need a new car right now, don’t buy one yet. If you don’t already have a pet, wait a while to get one. Avoiding unnecessary complications like these until you have some time to adapt can make the transition so much easier and more enjoyable.
Leave The Military Behind
A veteran has every reason to be proud of his or her service to their country. Still, it is significant to remember that the civilian world and the military are remarkably different places. Civilians that have never served cannot understand military jargon, and they don’t find it relatable. Potential employers might be impressed with your experience and leadership skills, but coming off as militant is going to be off-putting. Keep in mind that, while the military was an essential part of your life, you cannot go on living the military life once you’re in the civilian world.
Don’t Be Too Proud to Ask For Help
This is possibly the most crucial piece of advice anyone can get about leaving the military. The fact is most veterans are going to experience a great deal of anxiety and stress during the transitional period. Add to that the struggles of P.T.S.D. or physical injuries, and it can quickly become overwhelming. Below we will list resources for veterans that are feeling too stressed out and need a little help. As a veteran, you have learned to be sturdy, resilient, and self-reliant. However, we all need a hand sometimes, and there is no such thing as a one-man army. Do not hesitate to reach out if you need help.
Now that we have covered a few essential tips for transitioning from the military, let’s move on to a list of some resources available to veterans. Keep in mind that these are just a few examples. There are many organizations available, and you should be encouraged to keep researching to find the resources best suited for you.
There are so many websites to help soldiers who are separating from the military that it would not be practical to try to list them all here. One of the most important and most useful sites is Military One Source. This site is dedicated to giving veterans easy access to countless links, resources, and benefits. We live in the digital age, and most of the veteran’s best resources are going to be found online.
Another great website to visit is the V.A. Benefits site. This is, perhaps, the most critical site for a transitioning soldier, not only for the website itself but to help you get connected with your local V.A. The U.S. Veterans Affairs Department is a federal agency helping to provide quality healthcare to veterans. Sit down with a V.A. representative to make sure that you are receiving all the disability benefits that you may be due. As well as to make sure that you have access to the healthcare benefits that they offer.
The VA also offers a long list of non-healthcare related benefits, such as education, home loans, life insurance, vocational rehabilitation, and death and burial services. While the Veterans Administration was established in 1930, it did not officially become known as the V.A. until 1989. The VA provides benefits that amount to around $100 billion per year. You should try to take advantage of all the resources there are for veterans, but if you have decided to pick one, make it the V.A.
Lifeline for Vets
This is an extremely valuable resource for veterans, especially those that struggle with P.T.S.D. or other stress or anxiety disorders. Sometimes, after leaving the military, a veteran can begin to feel overwhelmed by the rigors of civilian life. When it feels like no one around, you understand what you are going through; it can help to talk to a fellow vet that has shared many of your experiences. They have taken millions of calls and helped countless veterans deal with life’s many difficulties. If you need to talk to someone that can relate to what you’re going through, call (888) 777-4443. Don’t wait for the pressure to build up and cause harm to yourself and your loved ones. Reach out and tackle your issues head-on with the help of someone you can trust.
Veterans Crisis Line
Much like Lifeline for Vets, the Veterans Crisis Line is a resource available to veterans that are struggling mentally and emotionally. While Lifeline for Vets is intended to be a shoulder to lean on for the everyday stress of civilian life. The Veterans Crisis Line is there to help veterans that find themselves so overwhelmed that they are thinking about hurting themselves or others. Years of endurings extreme stress while deployed in the military, and especially those who have deployed more than once. Civilian life can seem like a chaotic pressure-cooker. Sometimes it all becomes so overwhelming that it is almost unbearable. Remember that you are not alone. There is help available to you. Never hesitate to reach out if you start to think about hurting yourself or others. You are never alone in this fight, and some understand and are willing to help. Call (800) 273-8255 to reach the Veterans Crisis Line.
State Veterans Service Offices
Each of the 50 states has a local office that offers a variety of benefits and services to veterans. Since these benefits vary from state to state, the best thing for any veteran to do is to call or visit their local office and find out what they offer. Since these are state-level offices, instead of federal, they can often provide more individual and personalized help and advice to veterans, so be sure to take advantage.
The HUD-Veterans program or HUD-VASH program’s purpose is to help homeless veterans to gain affordable housing. Using a combination of H.C.V. (Housing Choice Vouchers), case managers, and clinical services. This program can be a great help to veterans that find them struggling financially in the civilian world. If you need help to get back on your feet, this could be the program for you.
The M.W.R., or Morale, Welfare, and Recreation benefits offered to veterans can make your transitional period so much easier and more enjoyable. The M.W.R. provides a wide variety of events, activities, venues, and services to veterans. Just a few of the benefits provided by the M.W.R. include golf courses, campgrounds, fairs, and discounts at various locations. All active or retired veterans are eligible for the M.W.R., and that does include Reservists. This organization offers so much that it would be impossible even to list a fraction of it here. You should feel strongly encouraged to look into the M.W.R. yourself and find local events and venues that you and your family can take advantage of.
No matter how long you served, or in which department you served in, your sacrifice is much appreciated. Keep your chin up during your transition from military life to civilian life, and stay focused on the positive aspects of the change. It won’t always be easy, but that is why you have a whole system of support to back you up the entire way. Stay positive, and thank you for your service.