Challenges veterans face when returning home

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Years later after the US invaded Iraq, veterans are looking for job opportunities, treating their wounds, dealing with homelessness, and filling for disability benefits. Is there any hope for a veteran to regain their life and forget about the atrocities they faced when they fought in the war? Many people ask themselves this question, especially the returning troops and their family because it looks like the real war starts when returning home.

The ones who didn’t suffer injuries on the battlefield experience mental health issues because they witnessed their best friends’ deaths. Others left school to join the war and now face difficulties in finding a job because they lack education. And so on, the list of struggles veterans face can continue, but it’s important to highlight the main problems they face and look for solutions. 

Unemployment

It’s no secret that veterans struggle to find a job when they return home. Many of them joined the army before graduation, so before applying for a job they need to complete studies. But this is challenging for someone who spent their last years on a battlefield. If they once dreamt to become engineers, doctors, and scientists, now they have to apply for more mundane jobs. 

12% of them work in manufacturing and only 11% find employment in business services. Because the options are limited, young veterans choose to work in government because it’s the easiest option. Older veterans, on the other hand, are more likely to be self-employed because they have previous specializations and skills they can use. Even if the veterans who found employment earn more than the average non-veteran individual, the veteran poverty rates are higher than 20 years ago. 30% of them are disabled and unable to work, and 7% have incomes lower than the poverty level. 

Private organizations assist and support veterans struggling with unemployment. They offer training, mentoring and job matching. These organizations do the hard work, they help veterans prepare for a job, and provide them with housing and food during their training period. 

If you face unemployment and you need help you should contact Hire Heroes USA or Wall Street Warfighters because they are well-known for their programs designed for former troopers. 

Devastating wounds

Veterans deal with different health problems than civilians when they return from war. During their services they can experience various injuries from lost limbs, to gunshot and shrapnel wounds, head and brain injuries, strains and sprains, hearing loss, and even limited range of motion in knees and ankles. 

Because of exposure to environmental hazards they can also suffer from burn pits, infections, and contamination with chemicals. 

Technology helps them survive even devastating wounds, but the symptoms associated with them last, sometimes, the rest of their life. Once they return home they must learn to live with their wounds, many of them including amputations that civilians rarely face. 

Organizations like Home For Our Troops and The Wounded Warrior Project can help you if you have physical wounds and you need help to adjust to your life. Your house may no longer suit the special needs you have as a result of an injury, but they can customize it to make you feel more comfortable. 

Drugs and alcohol abuse

Both men and women veterans can abuse alcohol and drug when they return home. Most of the time, the ones dealing with mental issues as PTSD, depression and stress disorder also abuse substances because they search a way to shut down their symptoms. Traumatic events often trigger substance abuse that can quickly become an addiction. They are often charged with possession because they use substances like marijuana to deal with their conditions. 

If you are charged with possession of marijuana or another drug substance-related charge, it’s always a good idea to consult a criminal attorney Salt Lake City because they have experience in helping people negotiating their criminal matters. Criminal defense is their specialty and when dealing with charges, hire a trial lawyer to legally represent you, no matter if you are veterans or civilians. 

Joining an addiction treatment program is the best solution when dealing with substance addiction because it provides confidential help, access to top treatments, and financial assistance. 

Homelessness

Even if the number of homeless veterans has dropped starting with the Obama administration, it’s still a worrying problem. As more troops come back from war, the VA needs to accommodate more people than ever. Female vets are the fastest-growing group among the homeless, and many veterans state they are reluctant to receiving help from the VA because of the complex bureaucratic system.  

Statistics show that 30% of homeless people are veterans. The main reasons they no longer have a home is that they suffer from mental health issues or substance addiction. Additionally, some of them don’t earn enough money to pay for housing, so the only choice left is homelessness.

The National Coalition for Homeless Veterans can assist the ones dealing with this problem because it provides housing, food, job training and health services for the ones who ask for its help. 

Operation Dignity is another solution for the ones who need support during the transition period because it offers parenting classes, anger management training, empowerment training, relapse prevention, health care assistance and housing. 

Mental health

Even if the VA attempts to provide better care for veterans struggling with mental health problems, the rates remain alarmingly high. More than 2 in 10 veterans suffer from both PTSD and SUD. PTSD is a crippling condition because it prevents people from reconnecting with their loved ones, and causes bad habits and aggressive behaviors.

Many veterans refuse help because they are afraid it can damage their reputation. Mental health problems are still seen as shameful issues. 

Among PTSD and SUD, they can also experience sleep disturbance, aggressive or irritable behavior, hypervigilance, psychological distress, and depression. Because they struggle to find a sense of belonging, they tend to isolate themselves from their closed ones and often this behavior paired with PTSD or irritability and aggression can lead to relationship disruption. Organizations like Give An Hour and The Veterans Crisis Line provide help to former troops and their families.

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