KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — It can seem like every day, new information is released about evacuations in Afghanistan as U.S. military forces leave the country. And for the veterans who spent years fighting in the Middle East, the events can be traumatizing.
Many veterans may feel betrayed as they read articles and see headlines about Afghanistan. It can cause emotions related to their time in the country to resurface. It can also make them want to take action.
"I was actually just doing a session with a combat veteran an hour ago and he was saying, 'it makes me want to put my stuff on and go over there," said Adam Magers, a therapist who works with veterans. "Like, he wants revenge right now. He's not ready to mourn. So this is taking people for a journey, it's going to be a process."
Magers served as a combat medic in Iraq before joining the Frontline Therapy Network organized by The Battle Within. The organization works with veterans and first responders that may face unique kinds of stress. They have also organized a free Afghanistan veteran's support group.
Magers also said that the healing process can take months and even years for veterans. People who served may need support from loved ones to help them overcome mental health issues that may arise as a result of the war.
"We're going to need a lot of support from the community to make sure that we are there for veterans in this time," he said. "This is really critical that we don't let these folks down at a time like his."
He said that veterans should take their armor off and reach out to a professional if they need help, or just need to talk to someone about anything.