Startling Statistics: Since the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan began we have lost over 210,000 veterans to suicide between 2001 and present day. One veteran commits suicide every 12 minutes or 40 veterans per day. 69% of those who commit suicide are over the age of 50. Every day we lose one active duty soldier to suicide. We have well over 500,000 veteran warriors with untreated Post Traumatic Stress Disorder walking around among us. 65% of those with untreated PTSD are also suffering from addictive illnesses. Since 2001, there has been a staggering 578% INCREASE in the use of opiates by our returning veterans. At least 60,000 of our 500K(+) vets are homeless. Scores of our combat warriors are lost in the shuffle of the criminal justice system as a direct result of their untreated combat trauma. 42% divorce rate among our combat vets. Our nation is experiencing a staggering 10% unemployment rate for our men and women returning from the Middle East...almost DOUBLE the non-military national average.
We are needlessly and senselessly losing a whole generation of our young heroes. The ramifications of this tragedy could extend well beyond the tragic loss of life as the result of untreated PTSD and addictions. The future of our all volunteer military force and National Security could be at risk. Please reach out for help. If you know of a veteran who is struggling, call me. We will come up with a plan of action. You are not alone!
There is an increasing need for our veterans to be heard and cared for. As an intervention agency, providing services like this to veterans is a specialized area. I am proud to share...I am a veteran. I served for more than 10 years in the United States Army as a Behavioral Science Specialist. I am trained and uniquely qualified to work with your veteran. I get it. You and your veteran are not alone. Not now...not ever. I can and will help. We will find a way out...together. Their sacrifice...your sacrifice will not be forgotten.
Simply stated, your veteran needs to begin to grieve. He or she may need to grieve the deaths of men and women with whom they courageously served. They may need to grieve the fact that they went to war with a body that was solid, healthy, strong, and intact, only to come home feeling broken on the inside and the outside. Your veteran, more then likely, will need to be treated for PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder). They may be experiencing the mentally paralyzing effects of "Survivors Guilt". Perhaps he or she bears the physical disfigurement of wounds borne in battle. It is not uncommon for them to feel lost and not understood with respect to the civilian life they now live. With help, they can begin to lay their combat related nightmarish images and experiences to rest. Such images and experiences have been plaguing their thoughts and feelings for long enough.
More on you and your veterans struggles:
A high percentage of veterans turn to mind and mood altering substances as well as other self destructive compulsive behaviors to try and cope with the profoundness of their combat experiences. Depression, isolation, suicidal thoughts and attempts are not uncommon. Noises, smells, and tastes from their combat experiences can occur at any given moment without rhyme or reason. Night sweats, night terrors, hyper vigilant behaviors, an exaggerated startle response to noises, flashbacks, insomnia, difficulty obtaining and maintaining employment and relationships are other common symptoms of PTSD after they come home. All treatable.
It is important to state I will not lose sight of the fact that you are dealing with your own pain and a myriad of other emotions as well. For example, maybe you are feeling guilty for feeling angry with your veteran. Your relationship changed. There is no denying that. The man or woman you kissed goodbye as they deployed was/is not the same person who came home. You may be resolutely fearing the unknown/uncertainty of life and your relationship as you now know it. You are experiencing thoughts and feelings that many family members of veterans go through. Take a deep breath! The need to treat your entire family will be carried out with love, grace, and compassion. There is help and hope for you as well. Do not lose sight of that miracle!
For your veteran, I will find a dual diagnosis treatment facility that will treat their substance abuse/dependence as well as co-occurring mental health concerns. I will work with you to find support groups and therapy. You will find your center again! You are not alone.
My hope, AND THERE IS ALWAYS HOPE, is that your loved one will begin to embrace and celebrate the fact that they are veterans. They served for the greater good. They deserve nothing less then the greater good in return!
"We will never leave a fallen soldier behind!"