In light of the fourth annual Joining Forces Wellness Week (November 9 – 13, 2015) and Veterans Day on November 11th, it is increasingly important to recognize the service of our Veteran population as well as share basic data that highlights the continuing challenges of Veterans in our area.
According to the 2013 Annual Homeless Assessment Report (AHAR) to Congress, completed by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development:
• It is estimated that 12 percent of adults who are homeless are Veterans.
• Between 2009 and 2013, Pennsylvania was one of the states that experienced the largest increases in homelessness for Veterans.
• In the 2013 point-in-time study, many Veterans were taking residence in emergency shelters, but nearly half remained without any physical shelter.
According to a March, 2014 Veterans Health Administration report on VA Facilities serving Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF), Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF), and Operation New Dawn (OND) Veterans:
• A total of almost 340 thousand Veterans who served in these recent operations were treated for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder at one of the Veteran Administration Medical Centers, Integrated Service Networks, or Vet Centers. Of course, this number estimates only those Veterans who received care through these Veteran services.
• Almost 6,000 Veterans identified in the report received services through local VA branches, including the Philadelphia and Coatesville offices.
A June, 2013 VA/Department of Defense Clinical Practice Guideline for Assessment and Management of Patients at Risk for Suicide reports the following:
• It is estimated that eighteen to twenty-two Veterans complete the act of suicide daily.
• Many factors, including emotional and physical pain as well as stressful life events, can play a factor in the decision to end one’s life.
• An emphasis on recovery is key to help Veterans heal.
Clearly, Veterans face unique challenges in adjustment following their service. New Vitae Wellness and Recovery continues to serve Veterans who encounter difficulties finding and utilizing behavioral health, brain injury, and/or substance use services. We feel fortunate to provide many of our services for Veterans at no- or low-cost through our DVMA appropriation.
To all Veterans: thank you. For any Veterans who are feeling overwhelmed: you are not alone. Please reach out to an ally, friend, or the staff at New Vitae Wellness and Recovery or another provider who can assist with emotional management and supportive counseling.
For all of our readers: please join with us to honor our Veterans! Consider attending our complimentary training on “Understanding Military Culture and Community Reintegration” on November 19th. RVSP information and additional details can be found here. Contact New Vitae Wellness and Recovery at 610-965-9021 to learn more.