During the month of June, AllHealth Network wants to recognize our friends, family, and neighbors that struggle with PTSD and show them our unwavering support. Thank you to AllHealth Network’s Natalia Frattali, a Veteran’s therapist with the Recovery Cooperative, for writing this piece.
There are over 300,000 veterans living in our communities that are currently struggling with PTSD. There are different types of scenarios that cause PTSD that impact our everyday heroes. Some common ones being combat, deployment, and sexual trauma. These regular events can all lead to PTSD, increased risk for suicide, substance abuse and homelessness.
Our heroes have been serving for generations and aiding in the call of many battles. We have heard of the Vietnam, Gulf, Iraq, and Afghanistan wars, where our fellow soldiers constantly experienced traumatic events that affected their everyday living. Out of all the veterans that served overseas in the Vietnam War, 15.2% of males and 8.1% of females were diagnosed with PTSD. In the Gulf War, 12.1% of all veterans met the criteria for PTSD. In the Iraq and Afghanistan Wars, 13.8% of all veterans left service and reencountered the world with a PTSD diagnosis.
Many soldiers experience deployment trauma during their time away. Out of the soldiers that get deployed, 49.2% encounter at least one traumatic experience. Unfortunately, 13% have encountered three plus traumatic experiences during their deployment. It is also said that soldiers that deploy overseas have a 4% greater chance of developing PTSD.
One common traumatic experience that soldiers encounter during their deployment is military sexual trauma. When military sexual trauma (MST) is reported by the victim, it is said that 1 in 3 women and 1 in 50 men experience MST during deployment. Out of those that report, 77% declare that they faced retaliations from chain of command after their sexual trauma statements. Those that have experienced sexual trauma have reported it to have happened by someone in the chain of command, reports being made by 1 in 4 women and 1 in 3 males.
There are also other factors that affect our veterans that struggle with PTSD such as increased suicide risk, substance abuse and homelessness. Since 2001, there have been 125,000 suicides amongst our soldiers who have returned home. Just alone in 2020, there were 6,146 suicides amongst our veterans. Suicide is also reported to be the 2nd leading cause in our post 9/11 veterans. Sadly, everyday 22 of our veterans are committing suicide due to unresolved military trauma.
Substance abuse and homelessness are also everyday struggles that our veterans face. It’s reported 25% of military veterans struggle with alcohol misuse and 20% struggle with other substance misuse.
At least 1 out of 3 veterans with a SUD diagnosis also struggle with having a PTSD diagnosis. All these struggles that our soldiers face every day put them at increased risk for homelessness. More than 9% of adults experiencing homelessness on our streets are veterans. Among our homeless veterans, 59% are older than 51.
These are just some of the challenges that our heroes struggle with every day, either within a supportive community or in silence. Their courageous sacrifices that left them with continuous struggles, distress and heartbreak cannot go unnoticed or unaddressed. In hopes of decreasing some of the statistics above, let’s shed a big light on PTSD and our heroes that wear so many faces within our communities.
If you or someone you know is struggling with PTSD, help is available.
Call the Suicide and Crisis Hotline at 988 – press 1 for the Veteran’s Crisis Line.