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Army veteran says pandemic impacted mental health of many veterans

The annual survey says when the warriors would socially distance themselves 52 percent of them said their mental health was the worst.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla — According to the 2020 Annual Warrior survey that had 28,000 veteran participants, during the height of the pandemic and when social distancing measures were put in place, it created additional mental and physical health and financial challenges for warriors.

The annual survey says when the warriors would socially distance themselves 52 percent of them said their mental health was the worst and 49 percent said their physical health was the worst.

“Clearly it’s causing problems and I believe ultimately it’s costing lives," said Army veteran Blayne Lannan. 

 Lannan attended five-star veterans center in Jacksonville.

Lannan says when the pandemic hit the veteran core program changed immediately.

“In terms of accountability and face-to-face contact with providers…it almost changed overnight," said Lannan. 

Lannan says this transition not only affected him but other veterans as well.

“There’s something about that human interaction and it’s really hard for me to articulate," said Lannan. 

“I mean just being able to sit across from somebody or to pet a dog or going to grab a soda down the street anyway, two people who are not in a clinical situation might react," said Rory Diamond, CEO of K9s for Warriors. 

Diamond says their nonprofit has a primarily in-person support system and is available to veterans 24/7.

“There’s definitely a lot we can do especially when we can do nice warm hand-offs to resources locally," said Diamond.