The National Institutes of Health has moved from considering wellness solely in terms of physical health and has now expanded it to include the integration of physical, mental, and spiritual well-being. Wellness is a significant driver in determining if veterans, among other at-risk populations, can confront the dangers of isolation. Consider these risk factors:
- Misuse of drugs has risen more rapidly among veterans compared to the civilian population, in part due to an inability to reintegrate into society due to exposure to war trauma
- Hundreds of thousands of veterans have been exposed to the toxic effects of burn pits, this generation’s Agent Orange, that were commonplace in both Iraq and Afghanistan for years. Post 9/11 veterans are experiencing cancers and respiratory diseases at very young ages from the exposure to the chemicals produced by burning trash such as hazardous medical waste, hydraulic fluids, lithium batteries, and tires in the open-air pits.
- Isolation caused by exposure to war trauma leads to difficulty reconnecting with community and family members.
- Suicide rates that outpace the civilian population due to disconnection and isolation
Wellness Service Areas
In tackling these wellness challenges and others, Dixon Center supports research, has been and is currently expanding existing programs, and initiating services where none existed before for effective, scientifically proven wellness strategies. Dixon Center has created an expansive network of problem-solvers that have committed themselves to improving the wellness of veterans and their families in the following areas:
- Mental and behavioral treatment
- Navigating the VA healthcare system
- Advocating for veterans suffering from the impacts of burn pit exposure.
Women are the fastest-growing group in the veteran population, yet many do not identify themselves as veterans or use their VA benefits. Female veterans shoulder a double dilemma. First, they face all the same problems as their male counterparts when re-entering civilian life, including getting and keeping a job, accessing medical care and finding affordable housing. In addition, women face extra challenges, from finding affordable childcare to simply feeling comfortable with their identities as veterans in society.
Dixon Center’s efforts with female veterans support the practical, financial, and wellness needs of those in crisis as they reintegrate into civilian life. This crisis intervention work helps stabilize emergency situations, ensure housing, assist with employment opportunities, and enable basic needs such as food, medicine and transportation. The goal is to enhance quality of life while moving to crisis prevention rather than crisis intervention.
To read more about our support for female veterans or to apply please click here.