For Veterans Sake Foundation is here to provide an alternative solution to dealing with PTS (Post Traumatic Stress). We use a combination of a (Non-Therapeutic) Neuro-Traumatic Resourcing, Service Dogs and consulting. Working with the veteran and their family/caretakers we explore every avenue to help them regain a Positive Mental Attitude or to Manage Situational Stress. We work with everyone involved to help the Veteran to Enhance Personal Skills and Assets. Once we discover their Apprehensions or Fears a decision can be made weather or not to offer a Service Dog. This process helps us to create a training prograim for the Service Dog and to provide a postitive pairing between the K9 and Veteran . Understanding that the spouse also can be suffering from secondary PTS is another area that we offer help. Many times the family/spouses are left with nowhere to turn. We want to be there for all involved when it comes to dealing with this unseen wound. Allow us and our staff to assist you or somebody you may know showing symptoms of PTS. All that is required is you are willing to accept help. (We always encourgage the involvment of the Veterans current Doctor or medical professional).
Here are some statistics related to our veterans
More than 200,000 veterans are behind bars for various offenses, about half are drug related.
Approximately 62,000 veterans are homeless.
It is estimated that 51 veterans attempted suicide every day, 22 are successful.
With all of our Veterans that are deployed fighting in wars our government is facing difficult challenges in providing care for our men and woman returning. More than 30% of our Veterans from Iraq and Afghanistan are reporting symptoms of PTS (Post Traumatic Stress ), TBI (Traumatic Brain Injury), depression, mental illness or other cognitive disorders. Left untreated, these medical conditions often contribute substance abuse and addiction, overdose, homelessness and suicide. It is estimated that one in six Veterans returning from Afghanistan and Iraq suffers from a substance abuse disorder. Since 2004, there has been a 39 percent increase in Veterans who have been treated for mental illness or substance. 79 percent of Veterans arrested had a substance abuse problem. Troops are treated in wartime by Doctors and medics who commonly use prescription opiates for pain. Our military prescribes narcotic painkillers three times as often as civilians are. This year, the Department of Veterans Affairs is treating about 625,000 Veterans by giving them opiates. This can very easily end up creating a problem for patients with pain. Abuse of prescription drugs is much higher among troops than civilians, and the rate skyrocketed with the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
There is no doubt that the Veterans Administration and the Pentagon fear that this drug use contributes to suicide and homelessness among the men and woman of our military.
We are currently working on a program with the California prison system that will allow us to go in and consult many of the Veterans who are incarcerated that may have PTS. We do not discriminate when it comes to working with our Veterans. Our approach is that we understand mistakes have been made and they’re serving time, but they can still use our help. If they want to improve their lives we will be there for them. We are also working out the details to where some of the Veteran inmates can become dog trainers for our PTS dogs that we give to Veterans in need. We believe that it could give them something to be proud of knowing that they are doing a very positive deed for fellow Veterans on the outside. Many of these Veterans are doing time for what might have been a reaction to PTS. We know for a fact that a person’s “fight or flight” action can be altered to thinking they have to fight, and not know how to turn it off. It is important to us here at For Veterans Sake Foundation that these former troops are not forgotten, we want to provide a positive solution.
Helping Veterans and their families that are dealing with PTS is what we specialize in. We have helped Veterans that have a rating of 10 percent all the way up to 400 percent. We’ve assisted Veterans that have been in comas, have missing limbs or just can’t stay focused on a thought for more than two seconds. If it’s related to PTS we will help you. If you have other problems we will refer you or get the many other Veteran organizations we work with to come and help. If you have not been to the VA yet and are weary about going to them, we will still help you. We DO recomend that you see a Doctor or medical professional and get your paperwork started so that you get the benefits you earned.
Our service dog program is working at full capacity right now. We are working on our new facility in Tularosa, NM. We are creating a program much like a dude ranch, except it will have our primary dog training course set up there. Veterans with PTS will be able to come out and receive help with their PTS, while at the same time assist us and our trainers with the dogs. Food and boarding will be provided along with many fun activities. The veteran will be required to get themselves up and be at the breakfast/dinner table. There will be group and individual meetings available. Hopefully we can plan some field trips during the time they are with us. We will involve them in selecting and rescuing dogs for themselves and future clients.
We are very excited that were growing. We still need a lot of help with many areas of the services we offer. Currently we are trying to find that person with a huge heart to help us with getting a motorhome so that we can get on the road to reach many more Veterans that might not be able to make it to a VA center or to us. By having the motorhome we can advertise in many rural towns that were coming so that we can offer our services to them as well. Our budget is not big so we try to brainstorm where the funds we do have can be used most effectively. Here at the For Veterans Sake Foundation we want to impress you not depress you. Allow us to prove how effective our methods are and earn your respect. We are always open for great ideas as long as the outcome is to better the condition of our fellow Veterans.
Mental Health Effects of Serving in Afghanistan and Iraq
The wars in Afghanistan and Iraq are the longest combat operations since Vietnam. Many stressors face these Operation Enduring Freedom/Operation Iraqi Freedom (OEF/OIF) troops.
OEF/OIF service members are at risk for death or injury. They may see others hurt or killed. They may have to kill or wound others. They are on alert around the clock. These and other factors can increase their chances of having PTSD or other mental health problems.
For many service members, being away from home for long periods of time can cause problems at home or work. These problems can add to the stress. This may be even more so for National Guard and Reserve troops who had not expected to be away for so long. Almost half of those who have served in the current wars have been Guard and Reservists.
Another cause of stress in Iraq and Afghanistan is military sexual trauma (MST). This is sexual assault or repeated, threatening sexual harassment that occurs in the military. It can happen to men and women. MST can occur during peacetime, training, or war.
One early study looked at the mental health of service members in Afghanistan and Iraq. The study asked Soldiers and Marines about war-zone experiences and about their symptoms of distress. Soldiers and Marines in Iraq reported more combat stressors than Soldiers in Afghanistan. Soldiers and Marines who had more combat stressors had more mental health problems. Those who served in Iraq had higher rates of PTSD than those who served in Afghanistan.
Later research has confirmed that to date, troops who served in Iraq are more likely to report mental health problems than troops who served in Afghanistan. A body of research shows a strong link between level of combat stress and PTSD.
How does serving in OEF/OIF affect mental health?
Research on OEF/OIF Veterans (1) suggests that 10% to 18% of OEF/OIF troops are likely to have PTSD after they return. In addition to PTSD, OEF/OIF service members are at risk for other mental health problems. Although studies vary widely in terms of methods used, estimates of depression in returning troops range from 3% to 25%. Excessive drinking and use of tobacco among OEF/OIF Veterans may also be problematic. Service members also report concerns over conflicts with others.
Some research has looked at how the response to war stressors changes over time. PTSD symptoms are more likely to show up in returning OEF/OIF service members after a delay of several months. Using a brief PTSD screen, service members were assessed at their return and then again six months later. Service members were more likely to have a positive screen – that is, they showed more PTSD symptoms – at the later time.
On the other hand, many service members who screened positive (had more PTSD symptoms) at their return showed fewer PTSD symptoms after six months. Overall, it should be noted that most returning service members screened negative for PTSD at both time points.
What increases the risk of PTSD in OEF/OIF service members?
Research studies have found that certain factors make it more likely that OEF/OIF service members will develop PTSD. These factors include:
Are service members getting mental health care?
Our recent Veterans are seeking care at VA more than ever before. VA data show that from 2002 to 2009, one million troops left active duty in Iraq or Afghanistan and became eligible for VA care. Of those troops, 46% came in for VA services. Of those Veterans who used VA care, 48% were diagnosed with a mental health problem (2).
However, many Veterans with mental health problems have not come in for services. Reasons that some Veterans have given for not getting treatment include: