After the Fort Hood shooting in Texas, Alaska military and Air force officials are stressing the importance of military members knowing there's help available if and when they need it.
At a press conference on Friday held at the Lynx Wing of the JBER hospital, Lt. Col. David Cordry of the 673rd Medical Operations Squadron explained why resources are so important for soldiers dealing with mental health issues.
"Sometimes they might feel a little cut off from family members, and a big focus is to help them cope with and deal with the trauma so they can reintegrate with their families," Cordry said.
Ric Davidge, chair of the Alaska Veterans Foundation, says the resources available to help people readjust to life outside of the military have changed drastically since he left the service.
"As a Vietnam veteran, I would say we have enormous resources compared to what we had when I came home," Davidge said. "We literally got off a plane, separated, got on a bus and went home -- there was no transition at all."
For Bryan Box, making the transition to a civilian lifestyle is a challenge he faces every day, even when doing something as simple as going to the grocery store.
"Seeing all that food, especially after seeing all of the tremendous poverty over in Afghanistan, and -- you know, seeing all that," Box said.
Box got out of the military in 2011, and says he connected with other veterans at the University of Alaska Anchorage to ease what he was going through. Even then, he says admitting to someone else that he needed help was difficult.
"It's a warrior culture; being able to acknowledge that something's seriously wrong in your own psyche is pretty hard to do as a soldier," Box said. "It's a hard thing to do for anybody."
One military veteran Channel 2 News spoke with, who didn't want his identity or face shown because of the stigma attached to asking for help, says it's difficult to reach out while still in uniform.
"Nobody wants higher (authorities) to know that anything's going on in their troop and their command," the veteran said. "So if Joe Schmo says, "Hey, I need to go talk to somebody,' it's not gonna be like, 'OK, man do what you need to do' -- it's going to be that team leader, that squad leader wanting to nip it in the bud and find out what's going on."
He says sometimes it takes going outside the military to get help.
"There's outreach programs from people who know the Army medicine," the veteran said.
Regardless of where the help comes from, it's clear those who come out of the service and struggle with mental health issues need to find a way to cope.
"When you push it aside, it gets dammed up," Box said. "It's gonna let itself out, it's gonna let itself out in a bad way."
JBER officials say they stand at the ready to help because they know when soldiers return from the battlefield, their personal battle may be just beginning.