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The editors at MHA Online decided to research the topic of:
Taking Care of Our Veterans
From VA shortcomings, a suicide every 65 minutes, to lackluster job prospects, we need to do a better job taking care of our vets.
- There are 21.5 million living veterans
- They are less educated than the average citizen:
- vets: 26.3%
- Rest of Citizenry: 33.5%
- But earn more:
- Avg. citizen salary: $26,965
- Avg. Vet salary: $35,821
- vote more:
- [2008 percentage who voted]
- Vets: 71%
- And are leaders:
- 9% of business in America are owned or run by veterans.
- They risked their lives for us.
- And we aren't taking care of them.
- 1.9 million veterans, and .9 million of their family members lack insurance.
- With 1/6 having an active duty related disability
- That they can't get the VA to recognize.
- AVG # days for VA to recognize a disability claim:
- AVG: 316-327 
- 681 days in Reno
- 642 days in NYC
- 625 days in pittsburgh
- 619 days in in L.A.
- 612 in Indianapolis
- 586 in Houston
- 510 in Philadelphia
- And some veterans having to wait for 600-900 or even 1000 days.
- Because the VA claims backlog is 600,000 long.
The most common health problems in veterans are severe.
- Traumatic Brain Injury--20% of recent war veterens exhibit symptoms of a TBI
- Memory Loss
- Mental Fog
- Ringing in ears
- Loss of concentration
- Amputees--More than 1500 recently returned vets are amputees.
- 83% have lost one or both legs. Leading to years of reacclimation and therapy.
- PTSD and depression--14% of vets said PTSD or depression seriously impaired their daily functioning.
- 34% Vietnam Veterans
- 10% Gulf War veterans
- 11% of Afghanistan Veterans
- 20% of Iraqi war
- suffering from PTSD
- Tinnitus--10% of disability claims are from constant ringing in veterans' ears.
- Fibromyalgia--Half of all veterans post-deployment medical visits involve musculoskeletal pain.
- Chronic Fatigue syndrome-- Making reintegration to civilian life extremely hard.
- Alcoholism--1/8 recent veterans suffer or have recently suffered from alcoholism.
- And make it much harder to reaclimate to civilian life.
- 1.4 million veterans are at risk of homelessness due to poverty, lack of support, and dismal living conditions.
- (that's 1/15 veterans)
- With 62,619 homeless on any given night.
- Making veterans (7% of the population) 13% of those that are homeless.
Finding a job
- 207,000 recent veterans cannot find a job.
- [unemployment rate for all/for veterans]
- Many have degrees, real world experience, are physically fit, and have held leadership positions. You shouldn't be penalized for defending your country.
- At the end of the day, lack of support, and extreme hardship leave many veterans seeing no other way out.
- A veteran commits suicide every 65 minutes.
- That's 22 a day.
- Or 8030 a year.
- Making Vets twice as likely to commit suicide as civilians.
- 1 out of 2677 veterans commit suicide yearly
- Compared to 1 out of 5780 civilians.
Friends, family, and neighbors have been to war. Supporting veterans is the right thing to do. Supporting veterans is supporting us all.