Today is Veteran’s day and children are out of school and many others have the day off.
My Facebook news feed is overflowing with photos and statements of gratitude toward servicemen and everyone seems truly grateful until tomorrow when there is no longer a reminder to be grateful to those who have fought to protect this country.
I am not saying people aren’t truly thankful but there is little than can be said to those who have sacraficed. We know of the many soldiers that return wounded not just in body but in mind. Like my uncle who returned from the Vietnam war with an undiagnosed mental disorder that soon followed. My very own father had a mental breakdown while serving and mental illness soon took hold and he was given a disability discharge.
We proudly wear the title of “Land of the free and home of the brave” while we have become home of many military mentally ill. Are they brave? Yes! The bravest!! But our freedom has come at a great cost.
How many veterans are homeless in your city due to mental illness and who are we to say it is okay because we are free? Are we simply going to say it is the price we have to pay for freedom? Well, I am telling you that is not okay!
Many of our servicement are left in the balance because their mental issues aren’t considered severe enough. So these men and women are discharged from duty but are considered “chaptered” out for misconduct instead of getting the medical help that they need. This means a less than honorable discharge and no retirement, no student aid or medical benefits (that are promised to them at enlistment).
Often a generic code is used to discharge the men and women that have been released due to a mental health issue or disorder such as PTSD. Because of this there are no records of how many men and women are discharged from duty based on their mental health… which often results in a lack of followup care and medical mental health treatment for those who desperately need it.
We need to take a stand to ensure those that have been discharged from duty do not continue to have conditions that remain downplayed and untreated.
How can we help?
First, it is important to be educated on what is happening with our military and their mental health.
Second, be a voice and spread the word! The more we talk about the issues it brings awareness and can not so easily be swept under the rug.
Third, contact your Congressman or woman. Men and women who have enlisted to protect this nation should not lose their benefits from a diagnosis that is a result of serving this country.
More stories are coming out and though we are not where we need to be progress IS being made. We all need to be a part of the change. This affects those that serve, their families, and their friends.
I have only touched the tip of the iceburg with this topic. If you are interested in knowing more please look up and read the below posts.