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More military veterans seek help following fall of Afghanistan

Published: Aug. 20, 2021 at 5:53 AM AKDT
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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) -These are busy times for the Cohen Military Family Clinic in Anchorage since the Taliban’s takeover of Afghanistan due to the U.S. withdrawal.

“Our call volume has increased,” said MaryBeth Goodman, the clinic’s director.

She and others work with military veterans and active-duty military who need emotional help. The phones have gotten busier following the recent fall of Afghanistan, and Goodman said most of those calls come from those who served there.

“People are accentuated in their emotions,” Goodman said. “If they were sad, they’re very sad. If they were depressed, they’re very depressed. If they were angry, they’re very angry.”

It’s okay for the veteran to be angry, or upset, but Goodman pointed out that people shouldn’t let it take control of their daily lives.

For those that have a partner, children or other relatives, there are things the family can do to help.

“Right now, dad needs some quiet time. Let’s just be here to listen,” Goodman said. “How about we look through a photo album, and dad can tell you some stories about some people who meant a lot to him.”

Having loved ones who served in Afghanistan is something Goodman knows quite well. Her husband recently retired after 25 years in the Air Force, where he worked in security. He also spent some time in Afghanistan.

“We’ve had a lot more conversations around the dinner table,” Goodman said. “We’ve had to talk about what it means, some of the people we’ve had to say goodbye to, who paid the ultimate sacrifice, their sacrifice was absolutely not in vain, and we’re honoring them by talking about their memories.”

Goodman stresses that talking is key to helping veterans cope with situations like the one in Afghanistan.

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