The Problems Facing America’s Veterans

I began working with war Veterans suffering from trauma as a psyche officer in Vietnam. When I came home, I spent the next four decades helping Vets readjust as they came home from war. From Vietnam to the Gulf War, Bosnia, Iraq and now Afghanistan. In that time, I counseled many Veterans suffering from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and became one of the pioneers in diagnosing and treating the condition.  

In 1985, I founded the National Veterans Foundation. We provide a toll-free Lifeline for Vets™ 365-days-a-year, where Veterans can call for help with any problem, and speak to fellow Veterans who are trained to be of help.  

And many of our nation’s Veterans need tremendous help. With more and more Iraq and Afghanistan troops returning home everyday without adequate support services, many are struggling with readjusting to civilian life after multiple tours and so much time in the combat zone. 

Some of the main issues facing today’s Veterans:

Veteran unemployment is nearly twice the national average. Young Veterans who joined the military after high school and went off to war are at a disadvantage when competing for civilian jobs with peers who didn’t serve.  Vets often don’t have easily translatable civilian skills, nor do they have the network of civilian business and social contacts that other young people have. Unless they apply with companies who place a priority on hiring Veterans, they are in a tough spot competing with other job seekers. 

One out of every three Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans suffers from PTSD, Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) or a combination of the two due to combat trauma. Upon returning home, our troops are not receiving proper medical and psychological evaluation or counseling. It’s up to them to seek the help they need and often this help is not easy to find or to access. 

There is a backlog of 1.2 million claims at the Veterans Administration.  The VA application process remains complicated and adversarial. Veterans are not automatically enrolled in the VA, as many people think, when they finish their military service. They need help finding VA facilities, completing complicated applications, managing the application process and appealing rejected claims. Many Veterans who are disabled and unable to work due to war trauma are waiting months and years for benefits they were promised and have earned. This results in many Vets with significant financial problems that can end up homeless or worse.

A third of all homeless citizens in America are Veterans.   Due to many of the factors discussed here, Veterans with distinguished, even heroic, military records are ending up living on the streets. Because of untreated PTSD or TBI and self medication with drugs and alcohol, many Veterans are finding themselves in conflict with the criminal justice system. Special Veterans Courts are the appropriate response to these problems. These courts take into consideration a Vet’s military service and the war experiences and lack of readjustment services that cause them to engage in anti-social behaviors.  Veterans’ courts focus on treatment and rehabilitation rather than jail time.  Unfortunately, only a handful of these courts exist in the U.S.

For 25 years, The National Veterans Foundation has helped our brother and sister Veterans with these problems and more. In that time, we have served more that 350,000 Vets and their family members.  

Unfortunately with the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, the Veteran population continues to grow, and so do the problems with which our Vets need help.   While the NVF has a proud, quarter-century history of serving America’s Veterans, the next 25 years will be even busier, and more important. 

If you know of a Veteran in need of help, please have them call the Lifeline for Vets™ at 888-777-4443.

Related Stories: 

Immigrant Vets Face Deportation

Female Veterans More Likely to Commit Suicide

Disabled Veteran and His Dog Targeted by City Officials

 

Photo credit: Paul Lowry via flickr
By Shad Meshad at National Veterans Foundation

85 comments

Rose M.
Rose Mabout a month ago

I never believed in Love Spells or Magics until I met this special spell caster when i went to Africa to Execute some business..He is really powerful..My husband divorce me with no reason for almost 4 years and i tried all i could to have him back cos i really love him so much but all my effort did not work out.. we met at our early age at the college and we both have feelings for each other and we got married happily for 5 years with no kid and he woke up one morning and he told me he’s going on a divorce..i thought it was a joke and when he came back from work he tender to me a divorce letter and he packed all him loads from my house..i ran mad and i tried all i could to have him back but all did not work out..i was lonely for almost 4 years…So when i told the spell caster what happened he said he will help me and he asked for him full name and him picture..i gave him that..At first i was skeptical but i gave it a try cos have tried so many spell casters and there is no solution…so when he finished with the readings,he got back to me that he’s with a woman and that woman i the reason why he left me…The spell caster said he will help me with a spell that will surely bring him back.but i never believe all this…he told me i will see a positive result within 3 days..3 days later,he called me himself and came to me apologizing and he told me he will come back t

SEND
Lisa M
Lisa M1 months ago

Noted.

SEND
Lisa M
Lisa M1 months ago

Noted.

SEND
Freya H
Freya H1 months ago

So this is how our "great" nation treats the men and women who put their butts on the line for U.S. interests. CEOs of defense contractors are wallowing in C-notes like hogs in filth, while people who faced genuine danger and suffered physical and psychological trauma are neglected. This cannot continue.

SEND
William C
William C7 months ago

Thanks.

SEND
W. C
W. C7 months ago

Thank you.

SEND
Kenneth Tennant
Kenneth Tennant3 years ago

The VA & SSA continue to be Overly Adversarial & Abusive to Disabled Veterans. Why else is this 100% "Service-Connected" (1987) DISABLED American veteran still fighting the SSA & VA for benefits promised, but not delivered ? Google: KENNETH TENNANT ( Domestic Terrorism: USA vs Veterans and the First Amendment ) & You Tube: AMERICAN VETERAN: Discarded and Forgotten. This Gov't Sponsored Criminal Activity TERRORIZED my wife, children and family members. PLEASE SHARE this ongoing story

SEND
ESHC NeFl
ESHC N3 years ago

very insightful!

SEND
William Troy
William Troy4 years ago

It's upsetting, a soldier's reward. To lay your life on the life, in return for what?

SEND
Steven Silas
Steven Silas4 years ago

The ugly underbelly of American society is that we yell, "USA! USA!" but don't take care of our troops upon their return home. Disgusting and disappointing to say the least.

SEND