Page 16 THE REVERE ADVOCATE – FRIDAY, MAY 19, 2023 Volunteers Gather for Annual Spring Clean Up Last Saturday morning, Acting Mayor Patrick Keefe joined forces with Revere Dept. of Public Works employees and state and local elected offi cials, as well as volunteers, to span across the city for the annual clean up. The volunteers are shown gathering prior to the start of the citywide cleanup. Veterans are struggling with addiction and mental health T his Memorial Day, millions of Americans will honor the memory of the men and women who died in U.S. military service. It commemorates all those individuals who sacrifi ced their lives. Outside of this day, we must never lose sight of the millions of servicemen and servicewomen who made it home to their families but are fi ghting a new battle. The National Survey on Drug Use and Health estimates that over 3.9 million veterans have a substance use disorder or mental illness. Moreover, substance use disorders significantly increase suicidality among veterans ages 18 and older. Suicidal thoughts and behaviors occur frequently among veterans ages 19 to 49. In Massachusetts, there are over 300,000 veterans, over half of them aged 65 and over. There are many reasons why veterans struggle with addiction and mental health issues. “There is a correlation between veterans and substance use disorders, homelessness, and suicide. Yet, this is preventable with early intervention and treatment,” said Michael Leach of Addicted.org. Many veterans struggle to adjust to civilian life, face fi nancial hardships, and have diffi culty fi nding employment or accessing benefi ts. Mental and emotional health concerns can lead to signifi cant problems, such as unwanted thoughts or feelings. Untreated trauma is common among veterans, which can lead VERONICA RAUSSIN Community Outreach Coordinato to substance use as a means of coping. Veterans also face barriers when accessing help, such as cost and insurance gaps. Communities experience inadequate funding and limited access in rural locations. Stigma regarding addiction and mental illness is also problematic. Fortunately, there are options to consider. Outside of the VA-Facility locator through the U.S. Department of Veterans Aff airs, other resources include: • Military and veterans services are off ered through city websites and the state website Mass.gov; • SAMHSA provides a treatment facility locator where veterans can fi nd services specifi c to their needs; • Helpful hotlines include the Veteran Crisis Line, 1-800-2738255, and the Lifeline for Vets, 1-888-777-4443. When covering costs, families may consider combining VA benefi ts with other forms of inHEALTH | SEE Page 18

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