Through the release of American Sniper, Americans unacquainted with the mental trials and tribulations veterans face once home can see, hear and emotionally feel just how powerful these unfortunate experiences are.
There is currently legislation in the Senate, known as the Clay Hunt SAV Act named for a Veteran lost to suicide. The cost is minimal, a drop in the bucket compared to the $1.1 trillion spending bill recently passed. But it's currently being held up by one man.
Many veterans are desperate to talk about their experiences with fellow Americans who accept shared responsibility for what is done in war, particularly the killing. Yet these conversations rarely happen today.
As individuals and community members, we all have an important role in helping our veterans to feel more connected to their communities, their families, their work and play, in ways that bring some sense of worth and meaning to their lives.
After the nation once again took pause to honor generational sacrifices of its warrior class this past Memorial Day, an unknown, but no-less important anniversary date looms: June 16 -- Veterans National Groundhog Day!
Not facing and addressing the appropriate depth of experience is ill-informed and borders on malpractice. The more things change, the saying goes, more they stay the same. As more and more die by their own hand. It is shameful.
The true measure of our society and the mark of who we are, not just as compassionate citizens but as responsible decision makers, is how we will choose to honor and remember those young men and women who have returned from overseas wars of our choosing broken, changed and sick.
On this Veterans Day, as we honor the men and women who have sacrificed for our freedom, we must focus our attention on those veterans whose own freedom has been lost to incarceration due to substance abuse, mental illness, and trauma.
We need an army of mental health professionals deployed to serve active duty service members, veterans, their families and even their immediate communities. Professionals must specialize in the specific climate of the military and the population so they apply treatments that work.