Veterans Struggling with PTSD, Suicides, Addiction, Depression
I have enjoyed watching the varied Veteran’s Day honorees that are being celebrated all over our country. It is inspiring to hear their stories, to commend their bravery and to appreciate their service to our country. Our country would not be where it is today if it were not for the sacrifices of thousands of veterans who have gave up so much for our freedom and all the benefits that we share in our country today.
The sad reality is that we still have veterans who are struggling with serious PTSD who have yet to receive the help they need. There are still excessive suicides, opioid addictions and overdoses, mental health issues such as depression and high anxiety that still plague many of our post-war veterans. They have encountered these varied forms of mental adversities because of their war time experiences. It is truly sad that they are not getting the therapeutic support that they desperately need.
Further, there are many veterans across the country who are still waiting for the VA to catch up with a backlog created after President Trump signed the Forever GI Bill in 2017. The landmark piece of legislation greatly expanded benefits for veterans and survivors’ families, but it did not upgrade the VA’s technical capabilities to account for those changes.
While it is unclear how many GI Bill recipients were impacted by the delays, as of November 8, more than 82,000 are still waiting for their housing payments with only weeks remaining in the school semester, according to the VA. Hundreds of thousands are believed to have been affected.
It appears that our capacity to provide our veterans with what they need and deserve is far below their current need. In fact, some of them are on the verge of homelessness which often leads to so many of the stressors that lead them down the road to depression, drug dependence and suicide.
I believe that honoring our veterans is not merely a set of recognitions. Honoring them is to understand and meet their needs financially, emotionally and practically. We must find ways around the technical issues that have put so many of them in crisis. We need to increase services to them and to their families and we must join together to make sure our political systems truly honor their service.
There is much to do, and we will need to work diligently so that maybe next Veteran’s Day we will be in a much better place of truly honoring our veterans. They certainly have given for all of us and we need to reciprocate with our service to meet their needs.