LAND OF THE FREE BECAUSE OF THE HOMELESS In this article by Shaunna Miller, We learn about the American service members who have unfortunately committed suicide. Yearly, more than 6,500 service members lose their lives due to suicide cases. What most individuals fail to realize is that the number by far exceeds that of those soldiers killed in both Afghanistan and Iraq combined over the last six years. Even those who are against the idea of committing suicide are at high risks of meeting another ill fate.
Despite their efforts of fighting for a noble cause, most veterans of America are today homeless. According to estimates of the Census Bureau of the United States, there are over 470,000 homeless people every night. When an analysis is carried out regarding the plight of the homeless veterans, the numbers are devastating. Of the adult population of the country, only about 11 percent are veterans, yet on any given night, veterans make over 154,000 of those individuals who are homeless. This represents over 33 percent of the homeless population.
This implies that one third of those persons who are homeless are those people who at one time served this great country. It is not uncommon to find Vietnam War veterans holding placards in streets begging for food. More than 335,000 veterans were reported to be homeless in 2006 alone. According to studies, about 44,000-64,000 of this homeless population is categorized as being chronically homeless. The big question remains why are individuals who served our country left to suffer alone.
The major reason that has been given to explain why there exist so many homeless people among the veterans is Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. Statistics from PTSD National Center reveal that this psychiatric disorder normally presents itself after an individual has been through events that are life-threatening. “Life changing monster” is the name that the disorder has been given by experts. Individuals who were once healthy suddenly become impulsive, detached, anxious, and sensitive to noise and light.
This implies that they become prone to regular emotional outbursts, and even doing simple problems becomes a hard ask. With time, these difficulties alter the functional ability of the individual, as well as their family and social life. Consequently, the disorder creates parenting difficulties, divorces, marital problems and occupational instability. When the PTSD related ailments become to severe, they will consequently result in lack of social support, and when the veterans lack support from their friends and family, they inevitably become homeless.
Web postings reveal that the two wars in Afghanistan and Iraq have resulted in the loss of 4,848 lives as of April 14, 2009. This is proof that American troops are exposed to a lot of traumatic events, most of which result with PTSD for those who survive. Of every five troops that successfully return home, one gets diagnosed with either depression or PTSD. A Military medicine article reveal that of the more than 8 million who served their country in the Vietnam War, about 30 percent suffer from PTSD. The current population that is homeless is predominantly made of war veterans.
Of the batch that is currently deployed to Afghanistan and Iraq, more than 300,000 have been diagnosed with PTSD. They are even becoming homeless at rates that are much higher than their Vietnam War counterparts. The solution that could effectively address this is to give it our time. During 2007 85,000 volunteers saved the VA 218 million dollars. When people become volunteers their time allows other funds to be used to further treatment for PTSD. So it is in giving our time that we hope to decrease homelessness in our veterans and increase their ability to cope. Qs:
Central Idea: After not choosing to take their life the plight of our homeless veterans is that of depression and post traumatic stress syndrome; but the volunteering of our time can help decrease the 33% of the homeless population they represent. The main points are: 1. Suicide numbers for American Veteran. 2. How veteran Homelessness and its numbers are associated with depression and PTSD. 3. The volunteering of citizens time is requested as a solution over money
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