US Veterans: Not Forgotten
The military conflicts that the United States has been involved in has produced thousands of veterans. Most of these men and women have a very hard time coping with real life once they return home. Vets account for roughly 10% of the country’s homeless population. Among veterans, many disabilities are common, particularly mental disorders such as depression, anxiety, and post-traumatic stress disorder. This causes addiction to drugs and alcohol to be rampant among veterans and this leads to a high rate of suicides. Around 20% of veterans suffer from PTSD.
One veteran, who served in the Intelligence Division, recalls how after getting out of service he was homeless three times. He lost both legs in the war, after being an elegant 6 foot 5 inches tall. He was unable to cope and tried committing suicide.
Another vet says that when he got back home, he couldn’t even enter a store without feeling strange and having to leave. He started drinking excessively in order to cope with what he was going through. Finally, he developed an interest in Tae Kwon Do and that helped him to deal with his problems more effectively.
US military draft ended in 1973. This means that most veterans who are suffering because of their service joined the military voluntarily. However, many of them feel that they were duped or misled and that their goal to serve their country and their people could have been accomplished without ever having to set foot on foreign soil. Most were sent to war when they were still young and trying to figure out who they were. Not only that, most of them had problems before joining the military and it’s ridiculous to believe that those problems would not worsen after coming back home.
Many veterans believe that the aid offered at the US Department of Veteran Affairs is not very helpful. Most of the help relies heavily on medication and there’s not enough psychological support.
One thing is sure, many veterans are unwilling to spend the rest of their lives medicated and so they seek out alternative ways to deal with their symptoms.
An NGO called Not Forgotten Outreach, which is located in the town of Taos, New Mexico is trying to change that. Many locals believe that the mountains surrounding the property have some type of special healing powers. The program was founded by a veteran and a military widow, and it offers a sanctuary for veterans and their families.
The founder of the program worked in Iraq as a casualty assistant. Her job consisted of notifying the families about their loss, helping them deal with the paperwork and planning the funerals. She admits that she still has nightmares about some of the funerals. After she left the military, her husband stayed back and then died in active duty. For her, this is when everything started spinning out of control. Watch this thought-provoking documentary now.