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Veterans coping with Afghanistan coverage

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Pixabay
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A serious mid adult female soldier talks to a male mental health professional about hard situations while serving overseas.

Images of military helicopters and cargo planes evacuating Americans from Kabul may be triggering to some veterans.

The withdrawal from the war zone in Afghanistan is dominating the news and that can be a lot for some people to handle.

Dr. Scott Parrott is the director of the Veterans and Media Lab at The University of Alabama. He said the constant coverage of Afghanistan on the news and social media may take be taking a toll.

“Suddenly, we're seeing an influx of coverage, an influx of stories, and some of the stories are calling into question the point of the war,” Parrott said. “They're showing vivid images and footage from Afghanistan. You might watch this and have negative emotions, have negative thoughts. It might trigger unwanted memories.”

Parrott said the news is even more difficult with the anniversary of the Sep. 11 terror attacks happening next month.

“It's a traumatizing experience for many Americans. And that could bring about negative thoughts, negative emotions for many Americans, not just veterans,” he said. “One of the pieces of advice I would give is to try to limit the amount of media exposure you have during these times. [You] don't necessarily have to avoid it completely, because avoidance can be a problem.”

Parrott said to reach out immediately if you’re having suicidal thoughts. Resources are available at the Tuscaloosa Veterans Affairs Medical Center.