Monday, June 22, 2015

Helping Vets

Every military man or woman experiences different things, has a different job, and serves in different branches. However, they have one thing in common. They will become a veterans. Those in the military receive a multitude of benefits, but what happens after they are done serving? In many cases their service is lost, leaving them with problems from just feeling lost to PTSD.

This past week multiple articles that I came across were about helping our country’s veterans. These people took action upon learning that veterans are neglected after they are done serving our country.

One group of veterans created an Instagram to reach out to former soldiers suffering from suicidal thoughts and actions. Special Forces veteran Johnny Primo realized the need for suicide prevention among veterans when someone posted a goodbye post on Instagram reading, “Very few people know the truth…I want this in everyone’s memory.” Primo tried to help this veteran but could not get to them in time.

As a direct result from that experience Primo and fellow veteran Casey Gray created an Instagram page with their contact information in order to reach veterans who feel alone. They began the hash tag 22toomany, and within hours of creating this Instagram page began saving many lives.

When the VA receives calls from veterans with suicidal thoughts they give them a number and have them hang up and call someone else. You would think the Department of Veterans Affairs would know not to direct someone with suicidal thoughts to hang up. They are working on transferring instead of hanging up, but that will not be put into action until November or December. 

The VA is making veterans wait five or six months in order to stay on the line with them, stay on with them to know that they are not alone, stay on to keep them safe. Instead, when a veteran calls the VA they are directed to hang up and call someone else, wasting time for them to get help.

Why is it that volunteers like Primo and Gray can give veterans direct help while an organization like the VA pays people to just stand idly by?  Thankfully other people are doing the VA’s job for them.

Circle of Friends for American Veterans
Program Coordinator 

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