Making the transition from being in the military to living and working outside of it can be challenging. COVID-19 has made it even harder.
John Hove runs King County’s veteran support training center, and he serves as the regional coordinator for Vet Corps, an AmeriCorps type program.
Hove says people just getting out of the military who are struggling with post-traumatic stress, have an especially difficult time adjusting. That’s because their first inclination is often to isolate themselves. And the quarantine because of COVID adds to that.
“You know the challenge is checking in and making sure that these folks are engaging,” Hove said. “Make sure they’re not spiraling into a deep depression that is hard to get them out of.”
Hove says his organization tries to schedule socially distant get-togethers and virtual gatherings that can help give vets the camaraderie they often miss from their years in the service.
And Hove has firsthand experience with what they’re going through.
When he got out of the military in 2015, Hove was disillusioned. Working in an overseas military emergency room left him with post-traumatic stress disorder. At the time, he felt higher ups were dismissive of his mental health needs.
“It was a lack of compassion and a lack of empathy,” he said.
Hove says when he got out, he just wanted to wash his hands of it all. He enrolled in college. But he found himself still struggling. So, Hove joined a veterans group and saw he wasn’t alone.
“We were all trying to navigate through life and trying to get help and trying to get through the struggle and that’s really where my eyes were opened up and I was like oh my gosh there is a need,” he said.
That’s the moment Hove says he became passionate about helping other veterans, and it’s why he’s in the career he’s in today.
He says on Veterans Day, he now likes hearing it when people say thank you for your service.