The Growing Social Problems Facing our U. S. Veterans Today There are numerous social problems that plague our world today. These issues can be very detrimental to our society as a whole and can also have very negative impacts on many lives. One major social problem we are facing today is the way we are dealing with and handling our United States Veterans. Despite the fact that we are one of the world’s most powerful nations we are failing to properly take care of our service members who put their lives on the line to ensure our safety and freedom as United States citizens. The issues facing our veterans are substantial and numerous.
I will be focusing on the majority of the most outstanding and significant issues facing our veterans today, I will be examining these major issues from the knowledge and perspective of a twenty nine year old veteran of the United States Marine Corp who has endured first hand several of the social problems facing all our veterans of the Armed Services. After exposing the underlying structural conditions contributing to the existence of these social problems, I will offer solutions and remedies that I propose to aide in resolving these issues while also discussing the effects that could emerge as a result.
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Several Americans, past and present have had the drive and desire to serve their country and become part of the United States Armed Forces. The process for joining the U. S. Military is not a difficult one and does not pose any problems for most who decide to join. It is simply a matter of deciding which branch of service to join; speaking with a recruiter, taking a test, and signing on the dotted line of the contract, then flying off to a new life and beginning basic training. There are a few different ways that one becomes discharged from the Military to become a Veteran.
A discharge can be honorable or dis-honorable and the later meaning one has been essentially kicked out due to a violation of some sort. Regardless of how someone is discharged there are usually lots of questions and much confusion which follows. This is where the problems originate and primarily is the source of these social issues which face our veterans today. The root of the problem is fundamentally the system which has no foundation for exiting the military, where on the other hand all types of efforts and bonuses are given upon being recruited when entering the military.
When one is classified as a Veteran, they have usually lived a life that was based on; orders, structure, hard work, cleanliness, timeliness, resiliency, and being very attentive and keeping their “wits” about them at all times. After being removed from this structured life where one is completely dependent on the government for everything and usually works in a unit or group situation, to a life where one is completely independent and has to relearn how to function without the aid of any government institutions can be a very difficult experience for many. This can physically and more so mentally cause great anguish for many.
Many veterans have no idea of where to turn or where they can go. The process for finding out what is available to them is no easy task. Also depending whether the Veteran had been oversees, injured, or had seen any form of combat can play a big part of this process. Many problems may become worse depending on the personality type of the veteran as well as the kind of action he/she saw while on active duty. There are a number of recent reports that shed further light on the growing social and public health crisis among U. S. Veterans. The most affected are the returning combat veterans from our current war and past wars.
Thousands of these veterans are dealing with major psychological and physical injuries which they have incurred as a result of their service. The trauma that they have endured is not handled appropriately and the facilities which they need are often not mentioned to them, this leads to problems developing such as; committing suicide and violent crimes, and suffering homelessness, addiction, and mental illness in record numbers. On January 13, the New York Times published the first part in a series of examinations into killings committed in the United States by returned veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars.
Under the title “War Torn,” the series examines 121 cases in which Iraq and Afghanistan veterans had committed or were charged with killings, most of them murder, and many linked to post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and consequent substance abuse and domestic distress. Families or single veterans are left to contend with the mental damage themselves. Overwhelmingly from lower-income working class backgrounds, military families bear multiple burdens in caring for wounded loved ones: psychological difficulties, alienation and lack of social infrastructure, enormous, medical costs, and lost economic livelihoods.
With our general economic situation in poor standing – job prospects being impossible to attain, and the cost of living rising – all the difficulties manifest and compound into huge burdens for these veterans. Consequently, domestic disturbances, self-medication and drug dependency, homelessness, and incarceration are becoming more and more prevalent. We as a society who rely on these heroes need to demand a resolution and work together with these veterans in order to devise some type of procedure which would enable these veterans the proper treatment and adequate necessities to transition better into the general public.
The government needs to devise a strategy for prioritizing high risk individuals who have been possibly negatively affected by their time while in active duty. These individuals should be assigned counselors who would then aid them and mentally help them transition into the civilian sector. Of course the counselors would need to be accredited psychologists. Other types of information should also be given to all service members upon leaving the military. A detailed packet of information that could be put together along with some classes on transitioning to civilian life for all service members would help ease confusion, and offer guidance.
Though these ideas are simple enough it is a mystery to me why they have not been implemented. This would just be an easy start to try and resolve the overwhelming number of social problems facing veterans today. Of course with any type of change or simply trying to amend procedures comes some sacrifices, hard work, and little more time and money. But overall the outcome is much more beneficial to all and it raises the quality of life for those who deserve the recognition and assistance of keeping our nation safe.
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