How to Serve Those Who Served

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Coming home after fighting in a war for your country should be a joyous time, one filled with the gratitude of your country and the loving arms of your friends and family. This seems like a no-brainer for those who have never served, but the reality is much harsher, and sometimes coming home from war is worse than war itself. Veterans today face serious issues after they have completed their tours of duty including mental health problems, poor physical health, and poverty.

Common problems faced by veterans today

PTSD and other mental health issues

The horrors of war don’t end the minute a soldier leaves the battlefield. Memories of those battles and seeing their fellow troops killed or maimed linger long after the event is over. Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) affects the majority of those who come back from war, and it takes patience and counseling to bring these souls back to the peace of mind they had pre-war. Along with PTSD come other mental health issues like depression and anxiety. It is difficult for veterans to describe how they are feeling to those who don’t understand and that can cause feelings of hopelessness and anger.

Isolation from loved ones

The experiences of a veteran are unique and only other individuals who have gone through the same thing can understand the effects it has on the mind and body. This can isolate a veteran from the family who sees the return of their father, brother, sister, or mother as a good thing and believe that everything should be ok now. This lack of understanding makes the veteran feel alone and misunderstood especially when they are not able to be the person they were before serving.

Health Problems

Many veterans are sent home because they suffered some severe injury like loss of a limb or burns from bombings. These vets may not have the ability to get to regular health appointments or suffer from mental health issues that prevent them from seeking help in the first place.

Poverty and Homelessness

When a veteran returns home they may not always have a place to live. Mental and physical health issues may prevent them from finding employment and sometimes the mental health problems are so severe they may end up roaming the streets without knowing which way to turn. Something as simple as filing for benefits could be a challenge that some veterans need help with so they can afford to buy food and clothing.

Ways to help

There are so many ways to help veterans who sacrificed their physical and mental health to keep this country safe from its enemies.

Offer transportation

Often the simple act of getting to a health appointment can be impossible for a veteran with a physical disability and no way of getting around. Offer to take a vet to an appointment or to see a friend. Volunteer to help pick up groceries or take them to the VA to hang out with others who know what they are feeling. It is a simple act that can bring so much joy to someone who served on our behalf.

Show your patriotism

Show your patriotism by flying the red, white & blue flag. Saying thank you to a veteran for their service can go a long way in helping them face their challenges with pride and dignity.

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Volunteer to help build homes

Many organizations will build homes for those who need them and provide the raw materials and training so that the community can help put these homes together. You will learn a new skill and help someone in need.

Visit a veteran

Some veterans are stuck in hospitals healing from wounds but may have little to no family or friends to come to visit them. A quick visit, a game of cards, or a game of Scrabble can go a long way to brightening up their day and giving them something to look forward to.

Offer to help

Offer to help a veteran with household chores or repairs around the house. It is not always possible to see the struggles behind closed doors, so make an effort to reach out and offer your time.

Volunteer

Many veterans’ organizations are desperate for volunteers to help with fighting poverty, finding jobs and homes for veterans, and securing emotional support animals for those in need. Volunteer your time and money to these organizations. You share a common goal, helping make life better for those who served. 

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