According to an article written by Moore, PTSD among homeless vets by DeAngelis Tori that was published by American Psychological Association in 2013, it stated that the Iraq and Afghanistan war yielded fewer homeless veterans that ever experienced (1). Moreover, DeAngelis compared the statistical analysis that 1.97% the Iraq and Afghanistan veterans to 2.63 percent those that served before this war I (DeAngelis, 1). Unfortunately, roughly two-thirds of the Iraq and Afghanistan veteran soldiers were diagnosed with PTSD, a much higher percentage than ever witnessed and experienced. The reasons provided to the high rates of PTSD were based on the numerous deployments and their experience while in war (DeAngelis 2). In other words, the above analysis rules out PTSD as the lead contributor towards the homelessness of Afghanistan and Iraq war veterans and marks such an assumption a myth.
It is quite unfair on how politics twist the norms of veterans. First, according to Gregoire, the disorder PTSD is presently misunderstood, stigmatized as well as misrepresented surrounding the fact that these veterans need assistant once they return home (3). Additionally, better awareness can only assist more veterans in seeking assistance on better care, but unfortunately, the media stigmatization has driven fear into the veterans since it believes that the mental state is the main reason for their homelessness (Moore 2). For example, rather than the media seek the facts and find the truth behind the homelessness of the veterans, its coverage confuses the public on problems experienced by service members as well as veterans. In other terms, these misinterpretations promote the civil-military divide. Rather than encourage war veterans as civil assets with high standards of volunteering, leadership, and voting, the media sector highlights them as victims of PTSD syndrome, which leads to their homelessness, specifically, since they lack the resources and health to cope with the public (Moore 4). Nonetheless, the pattern has become repetitive that it has become a tradition as well as a custom that the public ignore. According to the National Alliance to End Homelessness, homeless veterans have the opportunities to receive assistance from the U.S Department of Veterans Affairs with the provision of honorable discharge and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development regardless of the discharge condition (6). Moreover, the veterans are at liberty to join the case leadership as well as management and supportive programs at VA medical centers. With these structures to support the veterans with transitioning back into the civil society, it is not clear as to why there are more homeless veterans sleeping in the cold (National Alliance to End Homelessness (6).
According to research by Wong, it was highlighted the PTSD had become a tradition and an excuse used by political entities to justify their irresponsibility towards the homelessness of veterans (1). Wong claims that most of the combatants end up homeless due to the long duration it takes for them to receive their benefits (1-2). To some extent, it is a fact that has been backed up to stop the stereotype of PTSD among homeless veterans. Moreover, the issue of veteran benefits to omit PTSD as the leading cause of homelessness stretches to the legal industry. According to an article written by Bergmark and Lawton, titled One reason so many veterans are homeless? They can't afford lawyers published in 2016 by the Washington Post, supported Wong's perception. Using the autobiography of David Garrett, an Iraq, and Afghanistan veteran, Bergmark, and Lawton boldly highlighted that PTSD is among the least essential reasons as to why veterans are homeless (1). Additionally, according to the statistical analysis conducted by the Department of Veteran Affairs, it was evident that if these veterans had access to their benefits, then they would be able to strive in securing food, medical services, and substance abuse rehabilitation process. In other terms, the long duration before securing their benefits and services, which to some extent is not possible without legal presentation has led to them, being homeless. Also, according to Bergmark and Lawton, initiatives such as the Civil Legal Aid that represents veterans who cannot afford private legal services have been capable of assisting veterans in keeping their home (5).
PTSD has been linked with the recurring violent and aggressive character shown but veteran soldiers. According to common knowledge, the life of service and deployment in Iraq and Afghanistan is different from civilian life. Additionally, most of what these veterans experience while deployed is relatively strange, and since they are not allowed to share such information with civilians, they become isolated. To some extent, female veterans have been left out in the norms of PTSD and what they experience. According to research, female veterans have also had their cause of PTSD, for example, sexual abuse as well as discrimination while deployed. Only 3% of the women are homeless, leaving 97% to be male veterans who faced the same issue. The difference between the figures highlights that not only is PTSD an issue and it is falsely used in covering the main problem. There is still some gap that needs to be referred to support the assumption or stereotype that highlights PTSD is the leading cause of veteran homelessness. Also, according to We Honor Veterans Organization, the rates of homeless veterans who served the Iraq and Afghanistan war have increased in a rapid manner challenging the numbers that died in combat (2). Moreover, the organization highlighted that the reasons for homelessness are more complicated than PTSD, but since it is a term known and mistakenly understood by the public, it is often used to conclude their homelessness. According to the research, the stereotype of PTSD is often supported by a lack of family ties and dismal living conditions (We Honor Veterans Organization 5). Indeed, veterans come back to a totally different environment, one they are not used to, and to cope they will need the assistance of others, but if that assistance is not available, they were isolated from the rest of the community, then they seek refuge to a condition similar to that of the war, where only the strong survived.
To conclude, the PTSD as a significant contributor to the veteran homelessness is a stereotype/myth used to generalize or mislead the public on the real happening in the veteran community. For example, to prove that PTSD is a myth, the government established policies, rehabilitation programs as well as housing agencies for the veterans. If all these are available, then it means they have access to a therapeutic approach to PTSD. Next, in the case that the veteran benefits take long before being effective and them having access to the funds, then they would be able to fend for themselves, for example secure food, shelter and health services, but without the benefits then it is possible to conclude that it is the critical factor leading to veteran homelessness.
Bergmark, Martha, and E. Lawton. One reason so many veterans are homeless? They can't afford lawyers. 8 July 2016. <https://www.washingtonpost.com/posteverything/wp/2016/07/08/one-reason-so-many-veterans-are-homeless-they-cant-afford-lawyers/> Accessed on 18 September 2019.
DeAngelis, Tori. More PTSD among homeless vets. 2013. https://www.apa.org/monitor/2013/03/ptsd-vets Accessed on 18 September 2019.
Gregoire, C. What veterans want you to know about PTSD. 11 November 2016. 18 September 2019 <https://www.huffpost.com/entry/veterans-ptsd-stories_n_5824c612e4b05cf6a643605f> Accessed on 18 September 2019.
Moore, Emma. How the media's narrow portrayal of service members does the military a disservice. 2 October 2018. <https://taskandpurpose.com/media-portrayal-service-members-veterans>. Accessed on 18 September 2019
National Alliance to End Homelessness. Veteran Homelessness. 22 April 2015. <https://endhomelessness.org/resource/veteran-homelessness/>. Accessed on 18 September 2019.
We Honor Veterans Organization. Homeless Veterans. n.d. <https://www.wehonorveterans.org/veterans-their-needs/specific-populations/homeless-veterans>. Accessed on 18 September 2019
Wong, M. Stanford research finds flaws in veterans' claims system. 6 March 2019. <https://news.stanford.edu/2019/03/06/new-research-finds-flaws-veterans-claims-system/>. Accessed on 18 September 2019
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