MILITARY VETERANS FAQS

Q.   WHAT ARE THE CHALLENGES FACING MILITARY VETERANS?

A.       (1) Culture:  In order to best understand the challenges, you first have to understand military structure and culture. 

The military is structured in a way where your food/shelter/financial/and medical needs are all taken care of, so you as a Soldier/Sailor/Airman/or Marine, can fully focus on your training, and the overall mission of your respective unit. Those needs are also taken care of for the family of the military service member.  

And your training/operations/and physical fitness are performed on set days/during set times/wearing the same uniform/and all of them are performed to a standard as outlined in a field manual or technical manual. 

Everything is in black and white - there’s no grey area.

(2) Team:  Additionally, military service members perform training/operations/and physical fitness as a team - not as an individual. For example, in the Army, 5 soldiers are on a team. 10 to a squad. 40 to a platoon. 160 in a company. And then larger elements make up battalions, brigades, divisions, etc. 

Have an issue? Go to your team leader. Team Leader can’t fix it? You and your team leader go to your squad leader. This “team-first mentality” equates to a high level of camaraderie. 

(3) Deployment:  But when a Soldier/Sailor/Airman/or Marine goes to war, no longer is everything in black and white and they enter a more complex environment, one filled with uncertainty. 

So their family sees them leave the states and 3 months, 6 months, 9 months, or 12 months later, a different version of that person returns. No one goes to a place like Iraq or Afghanistan and returns home the same. They may be different in terms of their physical, mental, or emotional health. 

Then a 2nd deployment overseas happens, and then maybe a 3rd or 4th. All of this takes a huge emotional toll on the husbands/wives/sons/daughters/and parents of the military service member. 

It’ll happen over the course of a 5-year, 10-year, 20-year, or 30-year career. And the longer you stay in the military, the further you distance yourself from society. 

(4) Transition:  When that military career is over, isolation can easily set in because it’s no longer about the team - it’s about the individual. 

The sense of camaraderie is gone. Your support network is gone. You have to quickly learn and adjust to how the civilian job market works; medical care is not as easily accessible; and the pressure to support your family continues to mount.  When you start compounding these challenges one on top of the other, it can be overwhelming.

(5) Brain Injury: In terms of numbers, according to the Defense and Veterans Brain Injury Center, there have been approximately 348,000 diagnosed cases of Traumatic Brain Injury from the years 2000 through 2016. (numbers accessed on August 15, 2016)

According to the Army Office of the Surgeon General, there have been 138,197 post-traumatic stress diagnoses of deployed military service members from the years 2000 through 2015. 

In July 2016, according to the most comprehensive suicide study ever conducted by the Department of Veterans Affairs, roughly 20 veterans a day commit suicide nationwide. This new study includes more than 50 million veterans’ records from 1979 to 2014, including every state. 

In 2014, the latest year available, more than 7,400 veterans took their own lives, accounting for 18 percent of all suicides in America despite veterans only making up less than 9 percent of the U.S. population. 

From 2001 to 2014, as the civilian suicide rate rose 23.3 percent, the rate of suicide among veterans jumped more than 32 percent. 

The problem is particularly worrisome among female veterans, who saw their suicide rates rise more than 85 percent over that time, compared to about 40 percent for civilian women.

There is nothing black and white about traumatic brain injury, post-traumatic stress, or suicide - they all fall into that grey area spoken of earlier. So the challenges are plentiful and the answers to how to best combat these challenges are complex and have many layers to them. 

Q.   WHAT ARE THE CHALLENGES FACING MILITARY FAMILIES?

A.   Life after the military means quickly having to adjust to how the civilian job market works; medical care is not as easily accessible; and the pressure to support your family continues to mount. When you start compounding these challenges one on top of the other, it can be overwhelming for both veterans…AND their families. 

Family members may not fully understand what their loved one is going through; they may not be able to find the appropriate help, or even know who to ask for that help. And all of this takes an emotional toll on the family members as well - not just the veteran. 

There have been approximately 348,000 diagnosed cases of Traumatic Brain Injury among US military members from the years 2000 through 2016. That means that potentially 348,000 wives, husbands, sons, daughters, or parents of that veteran are also affected in some way. 

There have been 138,197 post-traumatic stress diagnoses of deployed military service members from the years 2000 through 2015. That means that potentially 138,197 wives, husbands, sons, daughters, or parents of that veteran are also affected in some way.

As for the 20 veterans a day that commit suicide nationwide - that means that potentially 20 wives, husbands, sons, daughters, or parents of that veteran have had their lives changed forever on that day. In 2014, more than 7,400 veterans took their own lives - that means that potentially 7,400 wives, husbands, sons, daughters, or parents of that veteran have had their lives changed forever on the day that their loved one committed suicide. 

Q.   WHAT DOES AFTER THE IMPACT FUND MEAN FOR THE VETERAN?

A.   For the veteran, After the Impact Fund could mean being a part of our 30-45 day, residential therapeutic treatment program, which takes place in a safe, confidential, non-judgmental environment. It means maximum privacy, to include home-cooked meals and private bedrooms. It means rehab associates being present 24-hours a day; it means intensive individual and group therapies; vocational programming, and a staff to maintain that personal connection after they leave the center. 

Q.   WHY ADD THE ATHLETES?

A.   Professional athletes suffer many of the same types of brain injuries and ultimately have similar transition issues at the end of their playing careers.  

During group therapy involving military veterans only, often times too many assumptions are made. There is a mutual respect between the two groups and working alongside athletes opens up a whole new dialogue.

For example, if someone says, “I was in Sadr City, Baghdad in Iraq or Al Anbar Province or Kabul, Afghanistan,” other military veterans may say, “I know what you’ve been through. Been there, done that.” And then that veteran may shut down or not be as detailed in telling his or her story. But everyone’s situation is different and you don’t know exactly what that person has been through. 

With the athlete in the therapy, more often times than not, he’ll say, “No, I’ve never been to those places. I’ve never been to Sadr City. I’ve never been to Al Anbar Province. I’ve never been to Kabul, Afghanistan. Tell me about it. What was it like?” 

And that interjection opens up a whole new dialogue. The conversations go deeper. The appreciation for one another goes deeper. Treatment together is more effective than separately. There is a mutual respect between the two groups, they help each other, and it works.

Q.  DOES THE VA PROVIDE A FACILITY FOR FREE? WILL MY INSURANCE COVER THE COST OF THIS PROGRAM?

A.   Every veteran’s situation is different in terms of eligibility and access to VA facilities and what your insurance covers. Please contact us today so we can get a better understanding of your situation, needs, and benefits.

Q.  I’M HAVING AN ISSUE UPLOADING MY DD214. WHAT SHOULD I DO?

A.  Please scan your DD214, save it as a PDF, and email it to us at info@aftertheimpactfund.org. In the subject line of the email, please include your full name followed by “DD214.” For example, “Pete Wilson DD214.”


MORE FAQS:  GENERAL - APPLICATION - FACILITY - VETERANS - ATHLETES - FAMILY