First published in the Omaha World Herald Midlands Voices 4.13.17
The writer is a veteran and board president of At Ease USA. He is the father of an Afghanistan War veteran and son of a World War II veteran.
President Abraham Lincoln affirmed in his second inaugural address in 1865 the government’s responsibility “to care for him who shall have borne the battle and for his widow and his orphan.”
More than 150 years later, I would challenge you to ask yourself if that responsibility extends to all of us.
I believe it does.
About 20 veterans a day commit suicide nationally, according to a 2014 study by the Department of Veterans Affairs. This accounts for almost 20 percent of all suicides in America, although veterans make up less than 10 percent of the U.S. population.
Studies have shown a direct relationship between post-traumatic stress disorder and suicide. PTSD is a mental health issue. It may result because of certain types of trauma, including combat and sexual assault.
Several factors may increase the chance that someone will have PTSD, and not all of these are under the person’s control.
Depression, anxiety, drug addiction, alcoholism, isolation and emotional detachment from family and friends are all consequences of PTSD. In the context of experiencing a trauma, it’s been said, you can’t swim across the river and not get wet. The consequences of PTSD are real and cannot be left untreated.
The Omaha-based nonprofit At Ease USA was founded to address the need to provide access to confidential trauma treatment and therapeutic support for active-duty military members, veterans, and their families — regardless of their ability to pay.
At Ease USA complements existing services offered by military and veterans organizations. Some initiatives funded by our organization since its founding in 2011 include:
Less than 1 percent of our population serves in the military. The other 99 percent have a moral obligation to them and their families. We cannot be disconnected from the cost and consequences our military men and women incur while they served.
If you know any veterans who may be experiencing PTSD, encourage them to seek help. Thanking veterans for their service is an easy thing to do. Go the next step — get engaged.
At Ease USA supports active military, veterans and their families and loved ones with confidential, research-supported, cost-effective treatment for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).
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