During our June Community Action Team meeting, our team tackled the issue of heavy alcohol use among some veterans in our community. Donna Knapp from Prevention Network, a non-profit resource center in Syracuse NY, presented on preventing alcohol-related problems with our veterans. This is a problem because high levels of alcohol use and alcohol-related problems are associated with suicidal behaviors. Our robust discussions centered around better understanding this complex issue. Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and alcohol use disorders have become increasingly prevalent in military populations. Drinking can also be a coping mechanism for stress, boredom, loneliness, or the lack of other recreational activities. Dialogue about taking action on this issue highlighted the need for mental health education and outreach strategies while continuing to strengthen community partnerships. We are confident in better understanding this challenge and meeting it head-on.
– Mayling Rodriguez, Research Assistant.