Our Heroes Need Our Help
In active duty our service members had clear direction and purpose. But when they return home, they can feel lost. Here’s a look at some of the issues our heroes face at home:
Mental illness can be an invisible wound from the battle field. The VA cites that at least 20% of vets returning from Iraq and Afghanistan suffer from PTSD or major depression. Many experience lasting effects from traumatic brain injuries sustained on duty. Suicide rates among veterans are on the rise. Early intervention is necessary to prevent chronic mental health issues. Sadly, many in need do not seek help. Worse still, those who seek help don’t always get what they need.
The percentage of joblessness among veterans is higher than among civilians. Veteran job seekers sometimes have difficulty translating military skills to civilian positions. They’re often passed over for other candidates who earned years of work experience while the veteran was serving. Difficulties with credentialing standards also contribute to unemployment or underemployment. The VA believes employment issues contribute to the increase in suicide rates among veterans.
While VA programs have reduced veteran homelessness in recent years, many veterans remain on the streets. As a result, they’re at increased risk of poverty, substance abuse, unemployment, mental illness, and isolation from family and supports. Access to health care, reasonably priced housing, and job training are needed combat veteran homelessness and related difficulties.
In addition to the trials of military service, issues surrounding reintegration can lead veterans to substance abuse. Over 7% of all veterans meet criteria for substance abuse according to the VA. Although illicit drug use is less common among veterans than among civilians, alcohol and prescription drug abuse are much more prevalent.
Any of the above items may contribute to a veteran becoming incarcerated. Additionally, once incarcerated, a vet has a difficult time securing employment and housing. Thankfully, the rate of incarceration among veterans today is lower than it’s ever been—proof that programs and resources can have a positive impact.
If you would like to join the Azule Foundation in our mission to reduce veteran crisis through advocacy, education, and support, Contact Us today.
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