Holidays Bring Extra Stress for Veterans

“You can’t internalize this forever. You gotta find that link with somebody or some group or something that’ll make you let it go, that’ll help you let it go.” – Don, Vietnam War veteran   

When Don returned home from Vietnam he brought horrific memories from the war back with him. To make matters more difficult, some of his peers looked down on his service. Don busied himself at home to avoid situations that might evoke feelings that he wanted to bury. After 9/11, many bad memories came flooding back, and his behavior and quality of life started to change. Don decided to seek assistance, but had never talked to a mental health professional before and wasn’t sure what to expect. His U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) doctor provided him with concrete steps to manage his symptoms and start the healing process. Each visit to his psychiatrist helped Don feel better, and his wife noticed improvement right away. Now Don tells his story hoping it will encourage other veterans to reach out for support.   

The Make the Connection campaign features stories of resilience and recovery like Don’s — from veterans of every age, experience, and service era. The Make the Connection website (, is a one-stop resource where veterans and their families and friends can privately explore topics including health, wellness, and common challenges. features hundreds of videos of veterans talking openly about their personal experiences with mental health treatment, recovery, and paths to leading healthier, happier lives. These real stories encourage other veterans to seek help and take the first step toward recovery.    

In addition to finding support at, you can also connect with care through a mental health professional or staff members in your community and at your local VA Medical Center or Vet Center by using the resource locator on the site. Don made the connection, and so can you.

The success of this effort relies on the support of those dedicated to serving our nation’s veterans. Visit today to discover more about how this resource can positively impact the lives of those in the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) community.     

Make the Connection is an initiative run by U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.  

Don’s story: 
Don’s story:  

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