46% of veterans with combat experience find it difficult transitioning to civilian life. A Veterans Affairs research says that as many as 500,000 soldiers deployed in the past 13 years have been diagnosed with PTSD and 30% of them find it very difficult readjusting from military life. These statistics show that shifting from military life to a civilian one is challenging for almost half of veterans, whether or not they have PTSD. After taking a look at why veterans have transition difficulties, read on to find out how a community can support them.
Military To Civilian Life
Military life vastly differs from civilian life. There is a certain routine while in service and people in uniform know where they stand. Soldiers focus on their missions and they develop skills for these missions that don’t always translate to skills needed for jobs outside the service. A sense of purpose and shared experiences create a special connection with other soldiers that after leaving the service a sense of disconnection is heavily felt by vets. They may feel like outsiders in their families and communities. Some of them feel that the military did not prepare them well for life after service.
Community Supporting Veterans
Aside from the Veteran Affairs, there are a number of organizations that help support the needs of veterans in readjusting to civilian life. Job training is provided by other vets who have businesses. Educational scholarships are given to children of deceased vets. A network of houses is organized to provide lodging for the families of veterans undergoing medical treatment. Financial institutions have programs where a VA loan refinance is available to qualified vets so they can use the cash for immediate needs.
As an individual, you can volunteer in one of these organizations and donate time to the troops. You can drive them to appointments at VA hospitals. You can assist them by grocery shopping, running errands, or doing yard work. If you are a skilled professional, you may help to build homes for injured vets. Some of these entities also accept donations in kind and in cash. If you know a vet personally in your neighborhood, a personal note of gratitude will be much appreciated and may be seen as a gesture of friendship. An offer of friendship may be one way to help vets reconnect to their community and feel less isolated.
Individuals, organizations, and institutions can all help reconnect vets to civilian life and make the transition easier for them. Helen Keller once said, “Alone, we can do so little; together, we can do so much.” Let that be your guiding principle in supporting veterans.