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Why Military Social Work is Vital

C U A Social Work in the MilitaryActive combat has been a well-documented part of America’s storied history. The anguish of war is something active servicemen and veterans don’t leave on the soil of a far-off nation once their deployment is over, but carries with them even long after returning home.

War is not an event to be taken lightly. The severity of the experiences in the battlefield may cause soldiers to suffer from a host of mental health issues, many of which have dire consequences if left untreated.

Since 2003, when the United States entered into war in Iraq, soldiers coming home from the Middle East share similar complaints, such as extreme grief, bodily injury, combat stress, fatigue, and emotional distress. Added to these assaults, many are ambushed by the after-effects of combat experience characterized by multiple and extended deployments, conditions such as Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), as well as physical injuries from active combat.

Armed forces members can face risks to their overall health, their relationships with family and friends, and their careers, if the problems are left untreated.

By the Numbers:

  • Although veterans represent less than eight percent of the American population; they make up approximately 20 percent of the 30,000 annual suicides in the United States.
  • At least 22 veterans commit suicide every day in the United States.
  • In 2011, 476,515 veterans who served in the Middle East have sought treatment for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and other mental-health issues.

Furthermore, mental health issues aren’t reserved to those Americans who have served, but may also extend to their families. Seeking treatment for mood, anxiety, abandonment, and adjustment disorders was 11 times more likely for children separated from their deployed parents.

Military Social Worker

The Catholic University of America’s online MSW will help you develop into a social worker trained to work with active and retired armed service members, in a range of settings, offering services such as:

  • Mental health therapy, from physical illness and disease to family issues and traumatic experiences
  • Crisis intervention
  • Individual and family counseling
  • Resource navigation, such as financial, housing and benefit assistance
  • Aging veteran support and advocacy

The current social work labor force, cannot keep pace with demand. Our engagement in wars — past, present and future — will continue to create a need for a more robust workforce that is ready and able to tackle new challenges. Social workers offer a particular skill set and knowledge base that is beneficial, if not indispensable, to service members, veterans and their loved ones.

Proper Training

With knowledge of the general conventions of social services and of the specific challenges faced by military personnel, military social workers are in a unique position to help distressed U.S. soldiers and their families. Through counseling, organization and research, military social workers can ensure that American soldiers who fight for their country don’t have to fight their personal battles alone.

If you’d like to learn more about how you can become a social worker with The Catholic University of America’s online MSW program, call 855-295-5711 or click here for more information.