Our main goal at Brazos Valley Cares is to provide assistance to area veterans in ways that can improve and enhance their lives.
In order to do that, it’s essential for us to first analyze the many issues that veterans face so that appropriate intervention can be planned.
It also involves understanding our veteran population and the difficulties they have in their everyday lives.
Who Are American Veterans?
American veterans are a very diverse group of individuals.
Spanning multiple age groups across five branches of military services, no two veterans have had the same experience nor will they deal with exactly the same personal issues after completing their service time.
This makes actually collecting the data to determine what our veterans need especially challenging, since different groups need different things according to age, education, military branch and deployment experiences, work history, family life, social life, and many other factors.
Above all, the different medical concerns that veteran groups experience play a large role in the kind of assistance that organizations like Brazos Valley Cares strive to provide once we understand our local veteran population and what they need.
Veteran Specific Health Issues
Today’s veterans deal with a wide variety of health issues, both service-related and age-related, with many of them unable to get the appropriate care without some kind of assistance:
- Mental Health Issues - 41% of veterans have been diagnosed with at least one mental or behavioral health issue that requires care and many of these untreated issues lead to SUDs and suicide.
- Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) - 36% of male military veterans are affected with PTSD, a syndrome that is not well understood by many and requires specialty psychological treatment such as that provided by Dr. Elk of the Elk Institute.
- Substance Use Disorders (SUDs) - Between the stress of military service and then the continued concerns of physical, mental, and emotional issues, veterans have a much higher rate of substance use and abuse than any other population group does.
- Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) - Concussions and other traumatic brain injuries that leave lasting effects that include headache, memory loss, coordination problems, fatigue, attention issues, and other symptoms can make daily life difficult.
- Chronic Pain - As many as 82% of veterans in specific veteran populations experience chronic daily pain, either alone or associated with other medical conditions including PTSD, oftentimes resorting to SUDs.
- Suicide - As many as 22 veterans commit suicide every day, with veterans aged 18 to 44 most at risk and veterans over 50 more than twice as likely than standard populations; however, the right medical and psychiatric care has proven to reduce suicide rates considerably.
Housing and Employment Top Priority for Homeless Veterans
Homelessness is yet another serious concern that many of our veterans, especially those with health and/or mental and psychological issues, deal with.
Nearly 12% of America’s homeless population are veterans and among them, half have either physical or mental disabilities and 70% have SUDs.
Providing the care and assistance to help them become gainfully employed and able to find affordable housing to reduce homelessness must be a top priority.
End Goal - Successful Reintegration Into Society
With so many medical and societal issues affecting today’s veterans, organizations like Brazos Valley Cares can help by:
- Seeing that they get the medical and psychological attention they need.
- Assisting with more practical concerns like financial issues.
- Supporting other local organizations that help in the rehabilitation of veterans in need and their reintegration into society.
With these goals, it’s easy to see how important it is for us to know who are our veterans, what are their concerns, and where and how can they get badly-needed help.
As such, Brazos Valley Cares continues to do its part to care for our local veterans by working with many former and current military who are able to see things from the more unique perspective of the veterans themselves, providing critical insight to the issues affecting veterans, how they happen, and what can be done about them.
Putting It Together
We at Brazos Valley Cares hope our supporters will join with us to get to know our local veterans better and then find the best ways to help them recover, rehabilitate, and reintegrate.
Whether through our special PTSD program with Dr. Carrie Elk of the Elk Institute, by providing transportation to appointments, helping veterans locate and apply for care, providing financial assistance, or other ways, Brazos Valley Cares is here for our beloved veterans in the Brazos Valley!