When our loved ones return from duty, it can be an exciting and emotional time. More often than not, we expect our loved ones to come back just as they were when they left. However, many families and friends find that when a veteran returns home, several things have changed. The most obvious of these changes is often a shift in communication with their veteran. While loved ones struggle to be supportive, it can be difficult knowing what to say to someone that doesn’t want to communicate.

Expect a Transition Period

The first step in fixing communication with a returning veteran is understanding where this breakdown in communication is coming from. For a veteran, the first few weeks and months of returning to civilian life can be a challenge on several levels. For some veterans, the transition may be easy, but for most that suffer from traumatic brain injury (TBI), post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), or military sexual trauma (MST), the return home can be anything but easy.

Understand the Change of Civilian Life

The world that a veteran returns to is very different than the one they left. This is particularly true when considering the highly structured nature of the military. While veterans dedicated their time to the military, friends and family moved on and may not be the same people they once were. As much as a veteran may want to fit into the life they once knew, it is virtually impossible.

Help Your Veteran Transition

The first priority is treating any mental or medical issues that the veteran may have. Then, it’s essential to find housing and employment. This can mean returning to school or beginning a new and rewarding career. Families and friends that are hoping to aid their veteran in more substantial ways can call a Vet Center to find out how to best care for their veteran.

Vet Centers are trained to help veterans adjust to their civilian lives. These centers help veterans access their benefits, as well as provide mental or medical health care. Similarly, Vet Centers can offer counseling and legal help, as well as find employment, housing, and other resources that are essential to a veteran transitioning back to civilian life.

If a returning veteran isn’t communicating, it is an outward manifestation of the challenges they are facing within. Don’t let a veteran suffer alone. With the right support and resources, returning veterans can successfully transition back into civilian life, working to create a new life for themselves and their families.