Throughout the summer months, we have many opportunities in the United States to reflect on the sacrifices made by members of the military and honor the armed forces. While many have returned home after serving our country to resume their previous lives, others have struggled with both physical and mental disabilities as a result of their service.
To that end, the Wounded Warrior Project was created to help those men and women who were injured, fell ill or are otherwise mentally struggling to adjust after their military service. The organization specifically supports those who served after September 11th, 2001 — making younger veterans their mission.
According to the National Department of Veterans Affairs, there are nearly 20 million veterans in the US. Of those men and women, millions have a service-related injury. What’s more — nearly half of those with a physical injury also suffer from some form of post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD. With a larger and larger percentage of the veteran population coming from more recent military duty, you can see why services aimed at helping them are so vital to both the veterans as well as the country as a whole. How we choose to treat the people who sacrificed so much says plenty about the society they fought to protect.
These mental and physical disabilities can have a devastating effect. There are over 40,000 homeless veterans living in America right now, many suffering from a combination of mental illness and disabilities. That number rose for the first time in nearly a decade last year. While government organizations, such as Veterans Affairs, offer medical care and certain types of support, it’s obvious that far too many former service members are falling through the cracks and being left behind. The one-size-fits-all approach often leaves gaps in treatment, particularly for mental health.
The Wounded Warrior Project connects these veterans with the types of resources they need to thrive when they return from active duty. That includes connecting them with a community that cares about them, therapy to help overcome hurdles presented by PTSD and traumatic brain injury, physical wellness initiatives, career programs to aid them through the transition from military to civilian employment, and the strength they need to feel independent once again. With the right kind of support, these men and women can live fulfilling and happy lives, regardless of their disabilities.
So whether you’re spending the day with family at a barbecue, hiking in the national parks, or volunteering your time, remember that organizations like the Wounded Warrior Project could always use your support.