Veterans Suffer in Silence on a Harsh Home Front
by Mike Francis
The Oregonian, Aug 4, 2012
A Vietnam-era veteran suffering 40 years after he said he was victimized by a sexual predator in the military.
A veteran in jail after being caught with heroin.
A veteran charged with driving under the influence.
A young veteran with a gun in his mouth who, thankfully, put it down.
Families broken up under the stress of living with a veteran who is moody, alcoholic or who lashes out in anger.
These are just a few of the cases in this state that have come to me recently in phone calls, emails or personal conversation. They differ in the details and the degree of tragedy, but they speak to the emotional pain that is pulsing like an exposed nerve in every corner of the state.
How big a problem does it pose, this fragmented community of suffering veterans and current service members? That’s maddeningly difficult to say.
Even the military, which says it cares deeply about the issue but cultivates a warrior stoicism that discourages self-reporting, can’t tell you.
The Department of Veterans Affairs and the Department of Defense have multiple, disconnected programs intended to address post-traumatic stress, depression and other widespread emotional and mental health issues, but nobody seems able to say how well they work.
A report in July from the Institutes of Medicine found that “no single source within the DOD or any of the service branches maintains a complete list of such (treatment) programs, tracks the development of new or emerging programs, or has appropriate resources in place to direct service members to programs that may best meet their individual needs.”
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Filed under: Resources Tagged: | Army National Guard's 41st Infantry Brigade Combat Team, Combat, Mental Health, Military Family, Military Suicide, Nasiriyah Iraq, PTSD, Substance Abuse, Suicide prevention, Veterans Affairs