PTSD and all of the polarizing emotions of going into and coming out of war is a struggle not recognized enough.
I am heartened by this sharing of stories and communication between those who understand. I think it’s a great step towards openly talking about mental illness and the effects of trauma. In all aspects of mental illness, I think the emphasis on being open, aware, and understanding is one of the best ways to help someone towards recovery.
Our veterans are routinely silenced, either by their own fear of disappointment, or by the well-meaning who believe it isn’t good to dwell on bad things. And just to reiterate:
- “57,849 veterans are homeless on any given night.”
- 12% of the homeless adult population are veterans
- 20% of the male homeless population are veterans
- 68% reside in principal cities
- 32% reside in suburban/rural areas
- 51% of individual homeless veterans have disabilities
- 50% have serious mental illness
- 70% have substance abuse problems
- 51% are white males, compared to 38% of non-veterans
- 50% are age 51 or older, compared to 19% non-veterans
- “In addition to the complex set of factors influencing all homelessness – extreme shortage of affordable housing, livable income and access to health care – a large number of displaced and at-risk veterans live with lingering effects of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and substance abuse, which are compounded by a lack of family and social support networks. Additionally, military occupations and training are not always transferable to the civilian workforce, placing some veterans at a disadvantage when competing for employment.”
- “The most effective programs for homeless and at-risk veterans are community-based, nonprofit, “veterans helping veterans” groups. Programs that seem to work best feature transitional housing with the camaraderie of living in structured, substance-free environments with fellow veterans who are succeeding at bettering themselves.”