Skip main navigation

Gavilan College Home Page

military eagle emblem


For veterans who have been deployed, coming home and transitioning to civilian and college life can be difficult. College culture is much different than military culture. To complicate matters, some veterans might struggle with emotional issues as a result of their service or the difficulty of the transition back. As part of the campus community, we can do a lot to help make this a smoother transition for veterans.

You might be unsure about how to help, or feel uncomfortable about how to approach a veteran. It's not surprising that it's sometimes easier for veterans to talk to each other than to civilians who may not fully understand their experiences. But on campus, it's important that civilians and veterans can communicate as members of the same college community. Below are some tips from the University of Minnesota for respectful communication:

How to welcome veterans to campus:

  • Welcome them home
  • Express your appreciation of their service
  • Offer to help with their transition to (or back to) campus
  • Support with patience and listening
  • Understand that the transition home is a process and can take time

Good ways to start a conversation:

  • What was your job and where did you go while in the military? (Remember: while many do, not all veterans serve in Iraq and Afghanistan.)
  • How are you and your family doing?

Topics to avoid when speaking with a veteran:

  • Pressuring a veteran regarding specifics about their service they choose not to share with you
  • Minimizing the challenges a veteran might face
  • Making assumptions about any veteran's political or foreign policy views
  • Singling out a veteran without prior approval (let them choose who they tell about their distinction as a student veteran)

Inappropriate questions:

  • Did you kill anyone?
  • Did you see anyone die?
  • Are you glad that you're back?
  • Do you have to go back?
  • Do you think we are winning over there? Is it all worth it?

Remember, even when approached respectfully, student veterans might not want to talk about their deployment, which is completely understandable. Reaching out is still important, and you'll most likely find there are many other things to discuss.

From ULifeline, a project of the Jed Foundation.Full Article

Emotional Issues Some Veterans Face

It is estimated that 25 to 30 percent of veterans returning from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan report symptoms of a mental disorder or some cognitive difficulties. These "hidden injuries of war" are not surprising given the trauma of serving in a combat zone. It is important that veterans struggling with emotional health issues get the support they need as un-addressed problems can lead to serious consequences like substance abuse or suicide.

Veterans who have experienced trauma in war and combat might suffer from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), depression, and suicidal thoughts. It is important to know the warning signs of these conditions and, if there's a problem, how to get involved in order to help your friend or family member cope and begin to get well.

With the right support and treatment, veterans dealing with mental health issues can still have a smooth transition and a healthy future.

From ULifeline, a project of the Jed Foundation.Full Article

Veterans Resources

  • Gavilan College supports its veterans! Please visit the Veteran's Services Page and read the Tuition and Fees Facts for Veterans.
  • Gavilan Veterans Services: Be sure to visit the veterans in the Veterans Resource Center in Theater 128
  • Soldier's Project: Free mental health counseling services for those serving and/or going to serve in Iraq or Afghanistan. Family members included.
  • Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America: Founded in 2004, this non-profit organization is dedicated to helping Iraq and Afghanistan veterans and their families. Members have access to a social network, connect with other veterans, and get information on local events. Source of extensive information, resources, and a blog.
  • Student Veterans of America: An alliance of student veteran groups on college campuses that connects groups with resources and advocates on behalf of veteran students. Has information on scholarships, internships, employment and more.
  • United States Department of Veterans Affairs: Provides veterans with benefits and services. Their Web site includes a wealth of information such as a directory of VAs across the U.S., help for PTSD, descriptions of VA benefits and facts on healthcare. Also includes a blog, which features relevant news and updates. Here, you can find out the specifics about the post 9/11 GI Bill (and other benefits), apply for it and learn about other education services.
  • SAMHSA Veteran Resources: The Substance Abuse & Mental Health Services Administration has a list of resources for veterans and families, including links on mental health and trauma.
  • Disabled American Veterans: Non-profit organization that offers community outreach services and advocacy for disabled veterans.
  • Vets4Vets: A peer support organization that helps Iraq and Afghanistan veterans heal from psychological and emotional issues stemming from service and war by providing free weekend workshops. They also have a list of veteran resources.
  • US Vets: Provides support service for veterans and their families, including housing, counseling, and career development.
  • Military Pathways: Offers information and support on mental health issues for veterans, active military, and their families, including screening for PTSD, depression, and alcohol abuse.
  • The American Institute of Stress: Information on combat-related stress and post-traumatic stress disorder, resource for veterans and their families.
  • Trauma and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
  Created Fall 2012 by SRJC Web Development Team