As an expenditure-only Political Action Committee (PAC), we identify leaders who will back legislation and public policies that support veterans.
In particular, we focus on the issues of veterans who are homeless or at-risk of homelessness. We work to coordinate with local leaders to acquire affordable housing, educational opportunities, vocational training or job retraining. We also work at the local, state and federal level to educate leaders about Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) or “shell shock” as it was once categorized as well as suicide prevention.
We are also committed advocating for change at the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). We support legislation that will help reduce waiting times for service, speed up VA compensation claims, and expedite appointment scheduling so that veterans can receive help quickly, efficiently, and affordably. No veteran should die waiting for months for services.
Your support of our work ensures that the good work being done in our communities can continue and grow. It also helps us to create an infrastructure for veterans that is sadly lacking. By strengthening our countries support of veterans, we can institutionalize a system of care that demonstrates our respect and gratitude for our nation’s veterans.
What Is At Stake?
Almost every hour of every day, a veteran commits suicide in this country. That is simply unacceptable. Many people feel that the country’s leadership has turned its back on our veterans because the cost is “too high” to give them the proper assistance they need. That too is unacceptable. We believe that for people willing to make the ultimate sacrifice for our country, no cost is too high.
Many people do not realize the scope of the problem facing our veterans. Following is a broad strokes view of how widespread and wide-ranging the problems are for veterans. Together we can change this and demonstrate that this country is grateful for the service of veterans!
Advances in Medical Education And Practice, National Institutes of Health
Veterans experience mental health disorders, substance use disorders, post-traumatic stress, and traumatic brain injury at disproportionate rates compared to their civilian counterparts. Eighteen to 22 American veterans commit suicide daily and young veterans aged 18–44 are most at risk. Health care professionals must be aware of patients’ military history and be able to recognize suicide-risk factors, regardless of age. Advancement in medical technology has allowed servicemen to survive their injuries but, for many, at the cost of a traumatic limb amputation and associated mental scarring. Health care professionals must be able to address physical safety concerns, as well as, emotional health of veterans. Approximately 49,933 American veterans are homeless and face the same difficulties as non-veterans in addition to service-related matters. Separation from military service and issues related to complex multiple deployments are among specifically identified veteran issues. Successful veteran reintegration into civilian life rests upon providing veterans with training that builds on their military knowledge and skill, employment post-separation from service, homelessness prevention, and mental health programs that promote civilian transition.
National Alliance on Mental Health (NAMI)
Nearly 1 in 4 active duty members showed signs of a mental health condition, according to a 2014 study in JAMA Psychiatry. On this page we focus on questions that military personnel often ask, concerning treatment resources, disclosure and staying healthy during the transition to civilian life. If you are having thoughts of suicide, the Veterans Crisis Line is available 24/7 by dialing 1-800-273-8255 and pressing 1.
- PTSD: The 2014 JAMA Psychiatry study found the rate of PTSD to be 15 times higher than civilians.
- Depression: The 2014 JAMA Psychiatry study found the rate of depression to be five times higher than civilians.
- Fear of Asking for Help: According to a 2006 study in Military Medicine, 97% of personnel who sought mental health treatment did not experience any negative career impact. The same study showed that it’s risky to ignore a mental health condition. If it worsens, a commanding officer can require a mental health evaluation, which is much more damaging to your career. Among people who had command-directed evaluations, 39% had negative career impact.
“Top 5 Challenges Veterans Face Today”
- Unemployment especially for those with injuries
- Homelessness especially for those with PTSD
- Poor Mental Health
- Physical Injuries
- Lack of Education
Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Association (US SAMSHA)
January 20, 2017
In the United States, about 10% of homeless people are veterans. Among this group, three out of four experience mental and/or substance use disorders. About one fifth of veterans in substance use treatment were homeless.
US Veteran’s Magazine – www.usveteransmagazine.com
A Veteran may have never looked for, applied for, or interviewed for a civilian job, especially if he or she had a career in the military. These are new skills he or she will have to learn and master.
In applying for a job, a Veteran will have to determine how to translate his or her military skills and duties into civilian terms and create a resume.
A Veteran may have never created a resume. Instead of a resume, the military uses a Field Service Record to detail qualifications, training, and experience.
10 Common Medical Conditions for Veterans – Unity Point Health
- AL Amyloidosis – The deposit of amyloid proteins in tissues or organs. Symptoms often include fatigue, anemia, weight loss, numbness and tingling limbs. This condition tends to affect veterans who were exposed to herbicides.
- Brucellosis – a bacterial disease which can become chronic and persist for many years. Symptoms include profuse sweating and joint and muscle pain. It’s common in Gulf War veterans.
- Hodgkin’s Disease – a form of lymphatic system cancer. Its symptoms include fever, fatigue, itching, weight loss and swelling of the lymph nodes. It often affects veterans who were exposed to herbicides.
- Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) (Lou Gehrig’s Disease) – Studies have shown a link between military service and developing ALS. This progressive neurodegenerative disease that affects motor function in the spinal cord, brainstem and motor cortex. It causes weakness and atrophy. This fast-moving disease causes death within three to five years.
- Parkinson’s Disease – a degenerative brain and neural function disorder causing shaking, stiffness and challenges walking and keeping balance. Symptoms are tremors in the hands, arms, legs, jaw and face, stiffness in the limbs and slow movement. It is common in those who were exposed to herbicides.
- Traumatic Brain Injury – a common problem for veterans of Operations Enduring Freedom, Iraqi Freedom and New Dawn. It’s caused generally by close contact with explosions. Symptoms include headache, blurred vision, loss of balance and slow thinking, speaking and reading. Similar to long-term problems seen in football players, the long-term affects of TBI are still emerging.
- Prostate Cancer – as with the rest of the population the risk of developing prostate cancer increases with age and there are not always symptoms. Veterans that served in Korea or Vietnam who were exposed to herbicides have a risk of developing this cancer.
- Depression – highly treatable yet alarmingly underdiagnosed. Symptoms include being persistently sad, irritable, changes in sleep, difficulty concentrating and feelings of guilt and hopelessness. This can also include survivor’s guilt. Common for veterans of all wars.
- Respiratory Cancers – there is a connection between veterans who were exposed to herbicides and those who develop respiratory cancer. These include lung, larynx, trachea and bronchus cancers. Dr. Spooner also notes that veterans may suffer from respiratory disorders such as asthma and chronic lung disease from exposure to particulates, dusts, and, chemicals and smoke during deployment- especially in the Gulf and Afghanistan. This is a new and concerning area which is affecting military members from our most recent conflicts.
- Musculoskeletal Ailments – about 60% of recent veterans were diagnosed with musculoskeletal ailments. These ailments include joint and back disorders.