Yet another source, www.howthingswork.com/economics/volunteer, states that as of 2007, there were 23.6 million military veterans living in the U.S. The same 2007 census reported that six million of those veterans were disabled. According to these statistics, one in four veterans is disabled, and the majority of them are over the age of 65. That number is changing due to younger veterans having been wounded in Iraq and Afghanistan. Many suffer from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), which can be disabling for some and often goes unnoticed or untreated. Many active duty military members choose not to report their symptoms for fear of consequences. Many veterans ignore the symptoms. According to the Defense Department, one out of six returning veterans suffers from feelings of depression and post-traumatic stress; however, only 60 percent of these veterans said they would seek help for their feelings.
Another very disturbing statistic from the Veteran’s Administration (VA) is that an average of 18 veterans commit suicide every day. That amounts to 126 veterans who kill themselves every week, and 6,552 veterans who take their own lives each year. A veteran’s rate of suicide is twice that of non-veterans. Unfortunately, that number is continuing to increase.
If you are concerned about these statistics, whether you are a veteran or not, there are many worthy organizations you may contribute to in order to help our veterans. The Red Cross, Salvation Army and USO are great organizations that have been around for many years and help military and civilians in need. The Paralyzed American Veterans Association and Disabled American Veterans Association are organizations that provide job training and a helping hand to veterans who may not be able to support themselves any longer due to injuries. Visit www.PAV.org or www.DAV.org to find ways to help either through donations of time or money. They also take vehicle donations to be adapted for use by a disabled veteran.
The Wounded Warrior Project (WWP) was founded in 2003. By their own definition, WWP’s purpose is to raise awareness and enlist the public’s aid in meeting the needs of injured service members, to help injured service members aid and assist each other and to provide unique, direct programs and services to meet the needs of the disabled service member. Visit online at www.woundedwarriorproject.org to learn more about the program or to make a donation.
If you are a veteran looking for help, call your local VA office. If you feel you have symptoms of depression or thoughts of suicide, please tell someone. Help is available. Make an appointment with your doctor or local VA hospital. Visit the websites www.va.org and www.veteransinc.org to find out about where to get help.
Remember our veterans and active duty military members in your prayers and don’t let them be forgotten. They have sacrificed so much for all of us.
Resources: www.va.org; www.PAV.org; www.DAV.org; www.veteransinc.org; www.howthingswork.org/economics/volunteer; www.woundedwarriorproject.org
Pam Rasmussen is a resident of LaFayette. She is a mother of a child with Spina Bifida and an advocate of special needs children and adults. She can be contacted at email@example.com.