Veteran Support Group: Top 4 Best Veteran Support Organizations

What is a veteran support group? Are you looking for a referral for a veteran support group that specifically caters to male veterans? What are the benefits of joining a peer support group or support community for veterans? Do you know someone who can benefit from joining a veteran support group? If you are looking for answers to these questions, this article is for you.

My name is Sean Galla, an online support groups facilitator with more than ten years of experience. Part of my work involves facilitating veteran support groups, including veteran support groups. This has given me firsthand experience of how being part of such a veteran support group can help to enhance the quality of life of the members, even veterans. If you are a veteran looking for a place to belong, grow, help other vets, a veteran support group is exactly what you need.

This article will cover everything you need to know about veteran support groups and what they are all about.

Written by

Sean Galla

An experienced facilitator, community builder and Peer Support Specialist, Sean has been running men's groups for 10+ years. Read Sean's Full Author Bio.

What Is a Veteran Support Group?

What Is a Veteran Support Group

A veteran support group is a type of veteran-to-veteran supportive community that offers a variety of services to army veterans, including access to VA benefits and VA forms. These are safe spaces for veterans to meet and talk about their experiences and challenges and find resources to help them overcome trauma gotten through combat. Veteran support groups offer supportive care to veteran veterans at different stages of their recovery journey.

In these groups, different veterans meet and share their lives experiences and recovery journeys. A support group is a safe space for veterans battling mental health issues such as PTSD, substance abuse as a way of coping with trauma. Some veteran support groups further offer skills that veterans can learn to help them get jobs after returning home from deployment.

Veteran support groups are overseen by the department of veterans affairs or fellow vets of veteran support specialists with the right training and knowledge in facilitating trauma groups. These support groups are helpful additions to clinical services. They help to strengthen emotion and make it easy for veterans to foster social connectedness, which is often difficult after time in combat.

A veteran support group can be seen as a trusted guide. In these groups, vets straight from combat meet fellow veterans who have undergone the same journey to wellness. This offers hope and access to support to help the vet find healing and enjoy wellness even after a traumatic experience in combat.

Apart from offering support to veterans, a veteran support group can also be beneficial to family members of veterans. Some support groups also offer caregiver and family support to help military families learn how to support their service members of the family after they come home from active duty.   

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Benefits of Joining a Veteran Support Group

Veteran support groups are mostly led by facilitators who have been through trauma. Most groups meet in person, even though some of these groups also provide online support.

When you become part of a veteran support group like veterans of America, you are encouraged to share your story with the group as part of the recovery process. Sharing your story opens you up to the possibility of sharing about your trauma.

This free space allows veterans to listen to one another as they share their experiences with similar trauma. Joining a veteran support group offers support to cope with memories of the trauma, mental illness from the military service, and gives you access to helpful support and advice on how to better other areas of your life that are affected by the trauma.

In a support group, you learn how to deal with emotions related to the trauma like guilt, anger, shame, and even fear once you open yourself up to the other members of the group.

When a vet returns home from deployment, it becomes increasingly hard to integrate into normal life. They often feel out of place and misunderstood even by their loved ones. A support group makes it possible for them to connect with people who understand.

Connecting with fellow combat veterans helps you feel better and less lonely or isolated. When you put in the work and show a willingness to become an active member of the group, you get better at talking about your PTSD or asking for help when you need it.

There are many benefits associated with becoming part of a veterans support group. Some of the best benefits include:

  • Knowing that you are not alone and that your case is not isolated since with meet others going through similar issues
  • You get to learn how to talk about uncomfortable things about your service experience and about issues that bother you.
  • You get access to ideas and help about how to handle day-to-day challenges related to your trauma
  • You learn to trust other people again
  • Making new friends and connecting with others who understand your issues
  • You get to hear about helpful new perspectives from others

While veteran support groups play an important role for veterans dealing with different health issues related to combat, such as PTSD, anxiety, fear, and sleeplessness, they are not a substitute for effective health care for these issues. If you have trauma-related issues that last over a prolonged time, you need to seek professional help.

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Types of Veteran Support Groups

Types of Veteran Support Groups

The department of veteran affairs and NAMI recommend different veteran support groups and vet centers, including a few nonprofit options, that offer a variety of advocacy services to service members and their families. These include mental health services, medical center access, behavioral health care, dealing with sexual trauma, and other outreach veteran services to help combat vets.  

Veterans PTSD support groups

This is a type of support group for veterans who develop post-traumatic stress disorder from their time in combat. This type of group mostly focuses on skill-building, suicide prevention, education, positive relationships, and offering any other type of support needed by the individuals. In this group, members learn how to deal with their trauma, get clinical help, and live a trauma-free life.

Self-Management & Recovery Training (SMART) Recovery Groups

This is a support group for veterans dealing with addiction. Getting the right support is an important step to overcoming addiction, especially when it is related to combat trauma. In this type of veteran addiction recovery support group, you will learn how to manage your feelings, thoughts, and behaviors that lead you to use drugs.

Veteran’s Caregiver Support Groups

This is a support group open to caregivers, families, and spouses of veterans who care for their psychological and physical needs. These types of groups focus on offering a supportive and accepting environment where caregivers can come and discuss their needs, challenges, and journeys with fellow caregivers.

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Recommendations for the Best Veteran Support Groups

Innova recovery center

Innova recovery center offers a unique, beneficial, and flexible therapy model for veteran PTSD patients. It works to make therapy accessible to people living with PTSD regardless of their locations or busy schedules. At Innova, you are connected with group members on the same path to recovery from PTSD as you. They offer support to people showing symptoms of PTSD or people already diagnosed with the condition. You can reach them via their hotline phone number to learn more. 

The counseling center of Texas

The counseling center of Texas is a support group for Texas people living with PTSD symptoms, including vets. It is open to anyone interested in benefiting from learning looking for acceptance, understanding, and support through a group setting. They also offer specialized groups for family members and caregivers for people living with PTSD.   

KDAD behavioral health services

If you are a vet looking for support groups for different trauma-related issues like mental health and substance abuse, KDAD behavioral health services cater to combat veterans going through such issues. Through this group, families can get information about dealing with a veteran loved one dealing with post-traumatic stress, depression, reintegration issues, and harmful thoughts. This support group helps with coping skills and gives veterans hope for recovery.

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Men’s Group

Best Veteran Support Groups

 At Men’s Group, a veteran can get all the support they need when dealing with PTSD, stress, and other military release-related issues.

This is an online men’s support group with many other smaller groups, including veteran support groups for men. As a combat veteran haunted by your time in the war, MensGroup has the resource and help you need to manage your symptoms and live a better, more fulfilling life.

MensGroup recognizes the connections between other mental health issues and PTSD. If you are a trauma survivor looking for help to overcome your trauma and related symptoms, MensGroup has all the help you need.  

Group therapy is an effective tool for overcoming any trauma-related challenges. Trauma can lead to isolation, making the conditions worse. Being part of a support group ensures you are always amongst people and that you have a free space to share and learn.

As an online support group, you can be sure that there is an active veteran support group session any time of the day. MensGroup ensures you have a support network available, even in this COVID time where physical meetings are not recommended.

Conclusion

Veterans often have a difficult time returning home and integrating into normal civilian life. This often puts a lot of pressure on the veteran and veteran families. Living with combat trauma can disrupt your life and that of your family members. By joining a support group, you can get the help and support you need to as you face your symptoms and work on overcoming them. If you are interested in living a whole and complete life, joining a veteran support group like MensGroup is the first step to recovery.

*Sources:
1. Veterans' Perspectives on Benefits and Drawbacks of Peer Support for Posttraumatic Stress Disorder
2. HELPING VETERANS: SO WE CAN SERVE THOSE WHO SERVED US
3. Social Support, Help-Seeking, and Mental Health Outcomes Among Veterans in Non-VA Facilities: Results from the Veterans’ Health Study
4. Benefits and Employment and Care for Peer Support Staff in the Veteran Community: A Rapid Narrative Literature Review
5. Outcome of a Randomized Study of a Mental Health Peer Education and Support Group in the VA

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