It’s difficult readjusting to life back home, especially after multiple deployments overseas. Unfortunately, the VA is behind on processing claims, and the forms themselves can be confusing and overwhelming even for those who aren’t suffering with post-traumatic stress disorder, traumatic brain injury, or depression. All of this adds up to veterans who are not receiving the benefits they deserve. Sometimes family members step in and help meet the needs of those veterans. Too often there is no one available to help and those men and women who stood up to protect our freedom are left scratching out a living on the street. That’s abhorrent to me.
One third of all homeless citizens in America are Veterans. These American heroes often have untreated PTSD or TBI. They self-medicate with drugs and alcohol. They may wind up in the criminal justice system from speeding or vagrancy. One coping mechanism for driving in Iraq is to speed down the roads in hopes if a home-made bomb goes off you’ll be past it before it can damage you. It’s not easy giving up those habits just because you’re back home.
Special Veterans Courts are being convened in response to these special circumstances. They take into consideration the Veteran’s military service and war experiences. They also consider the lack of readjustment services contributing to anti-social behavior. The focus is on treatment and rehabilitation rather than jail time.