The Problem

Why do we need DE-CRUIT?

The failure of the United States to adequately meet the mental health needs of its military veterans has been identified as a national crisis. Military Veterans are:

  • 2-3 times more likely to commit suicide– Twenty veterans commit suicide each day, a death rate that exceeds the number of combat deaths in Iraq and Afghanistan.
  • Experiencing rates of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) far exceeding those of the general population. And an over-reliance on pharmacological treatments, along with the isolation commonly experienced by returning veterans, is compounded by dominant treatment approaches which adopt an illness-focused model rather than focusing on sources of resilience within veterans’ various communities. After all, up to 68% of veterans drop out of clinical treatment for PTSD.
  • 4-6 times more likely to be homeless.
  • More likely to be addicted, and receive harsher, longer prison sentences

Over 41 percent of the U.S. population in direct connected to the fate of Veterans. That is, 128.5 million Americans, are directly affected by the moods, behavior and actions of military Veterans:

  • 25 million living Veterans. (NOTE: The VA estimates 23 million living Veterans, but the V.A. does not include veterans who are not registered with them. Independent analysts place the Veterans’ population as high as 27 million living Veterans. Splitting the difference between the V.A. and independent analysts yields 25 million living Veterans in the U.S.)
  • There are, on average, 3.14 people per American home. (S. Census)
  • The average American has two close friends. (American Sociological Review)

By adding work associates, neighbors, social acquaintances, school mates of veterans etc., the percentage of Americans directly affected by the actions and fate of veterans increases to over 71 percent. And even if you are part of the minority of Americans somehow not in daily contact with a veteran, knowingly or not, you are still affected by the fate and actions of veterans.

 

PROBLEMS FOR OUR VETERANS AFTER SERVICE

“The painful paradox is that fighting for one’s country can render one unfit to be its citizen.” (Jonathan Shay, Achilles In Vietnam)

When men and women enlist in the military they have a Recruiter. The Recruiter helps with every aspect of enlistment, preparing men and women for life in the military. During military service, they are provided with everything that they need; food, shelter, clothing, pay, support and training. Further, the military wires them for war. The military converts citizens into a soldiers, sailors, marines and airmen. But when they exit the military, there is no De-Cruiter. There is no person to prepare them for life after the military; to help them leave the military behind and reintegrate into society.

 

Men (and women) are recruited (for the military) at a psychologically malleable age. They are distanced from their enemy psychologically, taught to hate and dehumanize. They are given the threat of authority, the absolution and pressure of groups. Even then they are resistant and have trouble killing. They shoot in the air; they find nonviolent tasks to occupy them. And so they still need to be conditioned. The conditioning is astoundingly effective, but there is a psychological price to pay… Add to this the dissolution of the family. Children from all economic strata no longer have a censor, counsel, or role model at home. They turn to peers and authority figures… And then there are factors that provide psychological distance in our society. American society is increasingly divided along lines of race, gender, and sex. It has become compartmentalized…”

(Lt. Col. Grossman, On Killing: The Psychological Cost of Learning to Kill in War and Society)

 

PROBLEMS FOR OUR ECONOMY

“When violence against others results in injury (frequent from veterans suffering from unhealed combat trauma), society incurs the costs of medical care and lost productivity of the victims of this violence.” (Jonathan Shay–Achilles In Vietnam)

50 percent of Vietnam combat veterans sampled in the National Vietnam Veterans Readjustment Study reported engaging in violent acts three or more times in the preceding year.

At present, there are 17,000 active-duty Army soldiers, the equivalent of three combat brigades, under arrest, in military prisons or under investigation. (If many of them are suffering from combat trauma, they’re probably not getting help.)

According to the Justice Department, Veterans, on average, receive harsher and longer jail/prison sentences. At least 10 percent of all males in prison are veterans (roughly 250,000), at an average annual cost of over $ 47,000 person incarcerated. Creating an annual cost of $11.75 billion dollars to imprison military Veterans.

 

Read in more detail about the issues Veterans face