The Stigma of Mental Illness and Veterans

I am a disabled vet that has been fighting with the VA for over 10 years about disability benifits, a lot of our vets come home with PTSD and a host of other issues THEY themselves do NOT really understand until something tragic happens like suicide or murder. To blame the vet that gave his LIFE for this country for his or her own issues is like telling a drowning person "Hey if you learned how to swim you wouldn't be in this mess!" I also work with homeless people and yes many are vets, most of the homeless vets I meet suffer from 3 things...1. PTSD 2. A lack of marketable skills for employment 3. No knowlege of how to manage their own mental illness. I served in Somalia and in Desert Storm. I have seen peoples heads blown off, I have been shot at myself, and have had to move dead bodies on many occassions...now some people will look at me and saw I am strong because I am not homeless and deranged....no I am not strong, I am blessed and it is ONLY by the grace of God I didn't lose my mind too, I HAVE gone to Psychiatrist at the VA and it helped, unfortunately MOST male GI's fear being stigmatized if they go talk to a "shrink" and YES even the CHURCH stigmatizes people.

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