Op-Ed: Veterans’ Mental Health Matters

Photo+by+Benjamin+Faust+via+Unsplash

Photo by Benjamin Faust via Unsplash

Hudson Quitter, Contributing Writer

In 2018 I joined the Marine Corps. I joined to find my sense of purpose, instead I found what wasn’t my purpose. Spending weeks without a shower for training. Sitting in the rain on a cold night, clutching my M16 (there are many like it but that one was mine) for warmth. Living in harsh conditions for months at a time. I can look back now and say if it wasn’t for the people around me, I wouldn’t have made it to where I am today. At the worst of times, I always had someone to laugh with about the situation we were in. Just enough joy in suffering to get me through some of hardest things I’ve had to endure in life. It’s painful to think I won’t see some of these people ever again.

On this special day, not only do we remember those we have lost, but we also need to recognize the problems surviving veterans deal with. Over the past 21 years, we have lost just over 7,000 troops to combat but have lost 120,000 veterans to suicide.  That’s 17 veterans taking their own lives each day. What can we do about it?

Bringing awareness to this crisis is the first step in solving this issue. A lot of people I’ve encountered don’t even know that this is a problem. If more people learn about this, the more support we can muster for help.

People can help by talking to their local congressman or senator about this issue and what their plan is to take care of it. More support from the government can help veterans get off the streets and find jobs and housing in our communities. Helping veterans with the VA claims process so they can be compensated for the sacrifices they made. It would also help those that need professional mental treatment for the things they have experienced.

Volunteering for the Veterans Community Project Tiny Houses for Homeless Veterans | Veterans Community Project is a great way to help veterans who need housing in the area. Opportunities include house construction, administration, house maintenance, and event organizing. These veterans will stay in these tiny homes free of charge until a new permanent housing solution is in place. If you are interested in helping this organization there is a office in Longmont.

This problem can be easily solved with some elbow grease from the American people. Introducing legislation that will assist with this issue will be key to helping mitigate the crisis that plagues our country. These people deserve the help they were promised. Reach out to a veteran (if you know one) on this special day and check up on them.