They fought for, protected and defended our freedoms, but sadly, many of these brave men and women are struggling with life after service.
In getting to know William Allen, US Army veteran and founder of A Hero’s Home- a nonprofit helping homeless veterans by providing shelter and assistance with job training and placement-a few major issues came up that need to be addressed immediately.
An average of 22 veterans commit suicide on a daily basis.
Some veterans leave the service with PTSD, a major issue among veterans, but how is this being addressed? What if there were resources and training to those treating it and the veterans receiving treatment? A greater understanding of PTSD itself and what all of these men and women have experienced could make the treatment of PTSD a big player in the prevention of veteran suicide. Further knowledge of PTSD, including its symptoms and triggers could mean better treatment and better success rates. There also needs to be a general understanding and awareness of not only the family of the veterans, but the general public as well. Everyone needs to be aware of the warning signs of suicide, know what to watch for and know what sources are available in the event of a crisis.
There are thousands upon thousands of homeless vets across the country. As Allen stated, “The very people who put their lives on the line to defend our country cannot afford to live in it”. Each veteran’s situation is different, but with better financial planning, job placement assistance and other training programs put into place, this could better prepare service members during their transition. There is also the issue of assistance for homeless vets. There are programs available, just like the one Allen founded, yet many programs are only accessible online. A homeless veteran living on the street doesn’t exactly have the means to access a program for assistance online. There must be a better way to help get these resources in front of veterans without banging on the door of every homeless shelter in the county!
The last issue discussed was wait times and access through the VA. Some veterans are waiting months to get appointments or are forced to travel long distances just to look for assistance. For a disabled veteran in need of attention, you can see how this would be frustrating. Veterans, especially those in the Vietnam era seem to have fallen through the cracks somewhere. Many of their claims are denied and they are forced through a long and tedious appeals process that can sometimes take years!
Together as Americans we can address these problems and change these statistics. Even one death is too many.
Brittany Judd is a millennial from St. Louis. She’s a sales coordinator for an electrical distribution company and a proud Whiskey Patriot. She supports our troops with care packages going overseas each week and started a foundation called “Legacy of Love” in honor of her grandpa, who passed away of cancer.