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Veterans Mental Health Resources Offered After Afghanistan Takeover

MIAMI (CBSMiami) - Veterans across the country who served in Afghanistan are experiencing many emotions since the fall of Kabul, and the Veterans Crisis Hotline said it's seeing more calls from those feeling the impact.

Jeff Hurley enlisted in the Army a few months before the September 11th attacks and served until 2013.

Hurley said he feels America let down the people of Afghanistan.

"We have absolutely and completely abandoned the Afghan people. The people that speak to your heart, those that can't fight for themselves, the women, the children."

Dr. Caitlin Thompson with Cohen Veterans Network says veterans experiencing a range of emotions are reaching out in numbers.

She said they are feeling grief and anger.

"There's a lot of sadness. There's a lot of fear, anxiety. There's also some fear that they failed their mission. And they're concerned that people are also looking at them and thinking, you know, what did you do this whole time, which I think is devastating," Dr. Thompson said.

The Department of Defense is reminding veterans what is happening now does not minimize or negate their service.

The DOD is also encouraging veterans to take advantage of mental health resources.

"If you do have a veteran or a military family member, just say, hey, I just want to acknowledge that things must be really hard in terms of how you're doing right now. And I am here for you and I'm ready to talk any time you are. And I can help find resources if you need them," said Dr. Thompson.

Retired Sergeant Major John Plasse served two tours in Afghanistan.

He encourages those struggling to reach out.

"So, maybe in their mind, I'm going to give up too. Well please don't do that," he says. "Please seek help and it's not a sign of weakness by any means. It's a sign of strength."

And mental health professionals want veterans to know they are not alone in what they are feeling.

You can reach the Veterans Crisis Hotline by calling 1-800-273-8255 and pressing 1, texting 838255, or you can chat online here. 

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