Since the terrorist attacks on September 11th, 2001, more than 2.5 million people have served in the United States military. Many of the military have seen combat, on missions that exposed soldiers to horrible and life-threatening experiences. The soldiers may have been shot at or seen death up close, which can lead to Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). According to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, up to 20% of Veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars (Operations Iraqi and
PTSD can create mental issues, from severe erratic behavior, to a deep depression, both giving the person a feeling of hopelessness. PTSD has been linked to an alarming amount of suicides among military personnel, and their family members. The most recent numbers provided through the Associated Press show that Suicides in 2014 among active-duty military as of July 14th, was 161 for the year, up from 154 during the same time frame in 2013. According to the Huffington Post, one U.S. Veteran dies every 55 minutes from suicide. These numbers do not take in account for the family members who lose a loved one in service or through a suicide, then commit suicide themselves because their grief seems overbearing.
In 2012, more soldiers committed suicide than were lost in combat. 349 soldiers took their own life, while 295 were killed in combat. This is disturbing on so many levels and needs to be addressed. Many elements contributing to this are Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), as well as the feeling that they're not needed any longer or have nothing to look forward to. Budgetary restrictions can limit government resources available to the soldiers while enlisted, and there is not enough focus or programs currently available to them. There is a dire need for services to fill in this gap to the soldiers, both currently enlisted as well as now in civilian life, and their families. The first step in to establish a network of support, reaching out, letting our vets know that it's okay to ask for help, and providing them with mental assistance.
As the economy struggles to recover, so does the job market. Among the amount of unemployed is a large number of vets who return from the battlefield to find a new battle to fight, to earn an income. One of the many difficulties, and causes of depression among our vets upon returning home is their sense of needing to work and be involved. Research by Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago economists last year found that veterans deployed overseas for prolonged periods struggled to find work because of the traumas of war, as well as
NBC's Allison Linn reported that more than 1.3 million working-age veterans don’t have health insurance and are failing to take advantage of health care available through Veterans Affairs, a new study finds. Researchers at the Urban Institute used census data to estimate health insurance coverage for veterans aged 19 to 64.
While veterans are more likely to have health insurance than the general population, about 1 in 10 of the nearly 12.5 million veterans under age 65 do not have health coverage either through the VA or other insurers. The rates of un-insurance appear to be especially high for veterans under age 35.
training that did not readily translate into the civilian world. According to the most recent numbers provided by Reuters, among 9/11 military veterans, women suffered the most from high joblessness, with an unemployment rate of 9.6 percent in 2013. That compared to 12.5 percent in 2012. Unemployed female veterans were concentrated in the 18-34 age group last year. The unemployment rate for men was 8.8 percent, down from 9.5 percent the previous year. Unemployment was high for men in the 18-24 age group, with the rate at 24.3 percent. For men aged 25 to 34, the unemployment rate was 9.2 percent. For male veterans 35 and older, the unemployment rate was below 6.5 percent last year.
Military service is synonymous with sacrifice. But for many troops coming home from Iraq, Afghanistan or elsewhere — what some officials have called “the coming tsunami” of veterans looking for work in a fragile job market — that sacrifice isn’t ending when they receive their discharge papers.
This is a battle they are not prepared for. These veterans were good at what they did in the service and they’re prepared to excel — they just don’t know how to get in the door.
Education is a key foundation for success. As the
U.S. Department of Education acknowledges, "Virtually all school districts educate a child whose parent or guardian is serving in our Armed Forces, whether stationed here or abroad and whether on active duty or in the National Guard or Reserves. Of the more than 1.2 million school-aged children of service men and women, more than 80 percent attend public schools.
We want all military-connected school children to have an equal and fair opportunity for academic success.
“They are disproportionately younger, and they appear to have served more recently,” said Genevieve Kenney, a senior fellow with the Urban Institute and co-author of the report. Kenney said the uninsured veterans also tended to have lower incomes and lower levels of education and were less likely to be full-time workers than the veterans with health coverage. Contrary to popular belief, veterans are not automatically eligible for health care coverage once they leave the military. Jacob Gadd, deputy director for health care with the American Legion, said health coverage is generally provided to the poorest and the most badly injured of those who have served. For example, combat veterans are eligible for five years of free medical care for any service-related issues. Other veterans can get at least some coverage for injuries if they can prove they are related to their service. In addition, veterans who have very little income or are in financial distress can qualify to receive care through Veterans Affairs medical centers. (The VA provides an overview of who is eligible.) Gadd said many veterans don’t appear to be aware of what benefits are available to them, especially if they have injuries from their time in service.
American Legion research has shown that only about half of military members who have returned home from deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan have enrolled in the VA for health care. “We are worried about the other half, whether they know if benefits are available to them,” Gadd said. Gadd said some veterans may be choosing not to seek out health care, especially if they have post-traumatic stress or other conditions they fear could carry a stigma. There are clear costs to not having health insurance. Kenney, of the Urban Institute, said separate research has shown that high numbers of uninsured veterans have health issues that are not being addressed. About one-third of uninsured veterans said they were delaying care due to cost, the researcher found.
NFMFS is building a network of doctors and psychiatrists to provide immediate free care to our vets and their families to help combat the medical issues and effects of PTSD.
NFMFS works with military families with special needs children to assist with their specific and unique needs with resources, tools, education , and other much needed resources so that their child can have the very best quality life.
Our foundation is beginning with financial, equipment, and educational support, with future plans to establish a summer camp with activities and events designed specifically to the children's needs.
This requires that those individuals who make up our nation's educational system—our teachers, principals, school nurses, coaches, and counselors—understand the unique situations the children of our service members experience."
This support from our school systems is much needed, but there are many costs that these children incur that families have difficulty meeting, such as proper wardrobe, supplies, meals, etc. In addition, many of those who graduate and wish to go to college find the extraordinary costs of a college education too expensive and unable to find a student loan, especially for those children of fallen soldiers. NFMFS plans to establish the “EdMil Scholarship”, providing educational and tuition assistance for those in need.