Regardless of what you think of any war, I hope you can share my horror at the fact that veterans account for 20% of our nations completed suicides. It is shameful that despite the fact that our military members volunteer for the job, risk everything- their life, their limbs, their mental health, being present during big events in their families lives, etc. they then can come home and end up jobless, houseless, and profoundly suffering due to trauma without being able to access the support they need both from mental health professionals and from the average citizen of our country (many of whom would rather not know about the horrors they experienced). Having experienced severe trauma myself after which I experienced such a severe lack of support it could be considered neglect, each and every time I see veterans sleeping on the street, exasperated at the pharmacy because they have to choose between paying their prescription co-pays and eating that week, or being treated with disrespect when they are having a hard time it disturbs me for days. 1 in 3 women in the miltary are raped while serving and according to the NY Times- 92% of the women who report being raped are in one way or another pushed out of the military. An organization called Give an Hour asks for therapists to volunteer an hour a week of their time to provide free counseling for veterans for a year, but you don’t need to be a licensed therapist to be able to make some difference. Whenever I see a military personnel in uniform I make it a point to attempt to shake their hand and thank them for serving. Educate yourself about the effects of PTSD on many military members, stay aware of issues like the ones mentioned in this post, create space for veterans you know or meet to be able to share their experiences. Thank you to our veterans, and may your struggles not go unnoticed and unheard.
Thoughts on Veteran’s Day