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Veterans and Military Health


Military service members and veterans have made sacrifices to our country, and they may face lots of different health issues. Some of the most common health problems they may have include chronic pain, sleep disorders, and mental health disorders.

But they may also face some different health risks than civilians. Serving to protect our country is a special job, and along with it comes some special risks and job hazards. These include different types of injuries and health problems from exposures.

What types of injuries do service members face?

During their service, members are at risk for various injuries. These injuries can happen during training or while in combat. Sometimes the injuries are life-threatening or serious enough to cause disability. Others may not be as serious, but they may be painful and can affect daily life.

Some of the specific types of injuries that service members may face include:

What other special health problems do service members face?

There may also be a risk of health problems from exposure to environmental hazards, such as contaminated water, chemicals, infections, and burn pits. Sometimes the health problems caused by exposures don't develop until years later.

Some service members experience military sexual trauma (MST). This includes sexual assault and sexual harassment.

What mental health issues do service members and veterans face?

Being in combat and being separated from your family can be stressful. So can readjusting to civilian life after the military. All of this stress can put service members and veterans at risk for mental health problems, including:

There is also a risk of suicide. Veterans who are in crisis can get help from the Veteran's Crisis line by:

  • Calling 988 and then pressing 1
  • Texting to 838255
  • Chatting with them online

What health care services are available to service members and veterans?

There are health care services especially for service members and veterans through:

  • TRICARE, which is the Department of Defense's health care program. It has insurance plans and other services for uniformed service members, retirees, and their families around the world.
  • The Veterans Health Administration, which is part of the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). It provides medical and social support services to eligible veterans.
  • The VA 's expanded health care and benefits for veterans exposed to burn pits, Agent Orange, and other toxic substances.

To better understand and treat the health needs of veterans in the future, the VA created the Million Veteran Program (MVP). This research program is looking at how genes, lifestyle, military experiences, and exposures affect health and wellness in veterans.

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The information on this site should not be used as a substitute for professional medical care or advice. Contact a health care provider if you have questions about your health.