Menstuff® has information on Veterans.
Oregon Veterans Emergency Assistance
Federal Benefit. Find an Oregon location: www.cwt.va.gov/locations.asp
Proclamations - Curry
County, OR | Brookings,
Trauma and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
Suicidal thinking affects
'significant minority' of US veterans
Oregon Veterans Emergency
Emergency financial assistance includes, but is not limited to, emergency or temporary housing and related housing expenses, such as expenses for utilities, insurance, house repairs, rent assistance, emergency medical or dental expenses and emergency transportation. All payments are made directly to payees/creditors. To receive this grant your application must include a workable plan for future sustainability - how you will meet your future monthly living expenses and obligations. Call your local County Veteran Service Office Veterans Service Officer or ODVA at 503-373-2085 to talk to someone about your needs. State Benefit form online.
Veterans Emergency Relief Programs
Many military and service organizations have emergency relief programs specifically designated to help veterans and military members and their families. Inquire within local organizations about programs such as the Air Force Aid Society, American Legion Temporary Financial Assistance, Army Emergency Relief, Disabled American Veterans Disaster Relief Grants, Navy-Marine Corps Relief Society, Oregon National Guard Emergency Relief, VFW Unmet Needs, and Salvation Armys Homefront War Relief Fund.
National Call Center for Homeless Veterans
I f you are a homeless veteran, you can receive support to get back on your feet. Contact VAs National Call Center for Homeless Veterans at 1-877-4AID-VET (1-877-424-3838) to speak to a trained VA responder. The hotline and online chat are free and neither VA registration nor enrollment in VA healthcare is required to use these services.
Expert responders staff the hotline for homeless veterans 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The responders can provide emergency support and resources to homeless veterans, family members, as well as community agencies and non-VA providers.
When you call or join the online chat you will be connected to a trained VA responder. The responder will ask a few questions to assess your needs. If youre a veteran, you may be connected with the Homeless Program point of contact at the nearest VA facility.
VA offers these services to homeless veterans and veterans at risk of homelessness and their families. Federal Benefit. Visit the VAs homeless website for more information.
VAs Compensated Work Therapy
VAs Compensated Work Therapy (CWT) is comprised of three unique programs which assist homeless veterans in returning to competitive employment: Sheltered Workshop, Transitional Work, and Supported Employment. Veterans in CWT are paid at least the federal or state minimum wage, whichever is the higher.
The Homeless Veteran Supported Employment Program (HVSEP) provides vocational assistance, job development and placement, and ongoing supports to improve employment outcomes among homeless veterans and veterans at-risk of homelessness. Formerly homeless veterans who have been trained as Vocational Rehabilitation Specialists (VRSs) provide these services.
CWT veterans have been successfully employed over the years in various competitive positions including, but not limited to, health care, information technology, manufacturing, warehousing, construction trades, clerical and office support, retail and the services delivery. CWT programs develop an individual rehabilitation plan for each veteran and provide a wide range of support services to the veteran at the CWT locations. VA benefits, including service-connected compensation and non-service connected pensions cannot be reduced, denied, or discontinued based on participation in CWT.
The CWT program mission is to provide realistic and meaningful vocational opportunities to veterans; encouraging successful reintegration into the community at the veterans highest functional level. Federal Benefit. Find an Oregon location: www.cwt.va.gov/locations.asp
Transitional Residence Program
The Transitional Residence (TR) program is a work-based Psychosocial Residential Rehabilitation Treatment Program offering a therapeutic residential setting for veterans involved in CWT. The TR program provides a rehabilitation-focused residential setting for veterans recovering from chronic mental illness, chemical dependency and homelessness. TR provides a bridge between hospitalization or intensive outpatient treatment and successful community reintegration. It utilizes a residential therapeutic community of peer and professional support, with a strong emphasis on increasing personal responsibility and achievement of individualized rehabilitation goals.
This program differs from other VA-operated residential bed programs in that participants contribute (using their CWT earnings) to the cost of operating and maintaining their residences and are responsible for planning, purchasing and preparing their own meals.
Federal Benefit. Find an Oregon location: www.cwt.va.gov/locations.asp
This joint Supported Housing Program with the US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) provides permanent housing and ongoing case management treatment services for homeless Veterans who would not be able to live independently without the support of case management. HUDs Section 8 Voucher Program has designated more than 10,000 Vouchers to Public Housing Authorities (PHAs) throughout the country for veterans who are homeless. This program allows veterans to live in veteran selected apartment units with a Housing Choice voucher. These vouchers are portable so that veterans can live in communities served by their VA medical facility where case management services can be provided.
Federal Program. Contact your local HUD-VASH Regional Coordinator and find more information at the VAs homeless website
These programs provide a daytime sanctuary where homeless veterans can clean up, wash their clothing, and participate in a variety of therapeutic and rehabilitative activities. Linkages with longer-term assistance are also available.
Community, State and Federal programs. Locations vary. Contact a local Vet Center or CBOC for locations and services in your area.
Stand Downs are one-to three-day events that provide homeless veterans a variety of services and allow VA and community-based service providers to reach more homeless veterans. Stand downs give homeless veterans a temporary refuge where they can obtain food, shelter, clothing and a range of community and VA assistance. In many locations, stand downs provide health screenings, referral and access to long-term treatment, benefits counseling, ID cards and access to other programs to meet their immediate needs.
Community, State and Federal partnerships. Visit
the VAs homeless
for Stand Down dates and locations.
Get to know the number that just might save a veteran's life.
If you can imagine believing that your own strength is what keeps others alive, even at the expense of your own well-being, you might be close to imagining what it's like to live inside the mind of a veteran.
But who gives strength to the heroes who support us should they need it? This catch-22 is exactly the conundrum so many veterans face.
What should happen first is this: Someone dials the number 800-273-8255, and presses 1.
It's the number for the Veterans Crisis Line. It's so important that places like this exist so very important that in 2012, President Obama doubled its staff.
The VCL is exactly what it sounds like. Some of its call responders are veterans, and many more are friends or family members of veterans who can understand what they're going through.
These folks stay on the phone. They follow up. They try to ensure that the person calling is able to get help from local services.
People at the Department of Veterans Affairs are committed to preventing veteran suicide. Even one death by suicide is too many.
While the suicide rate nationwide has been climbing, the suicide rate among veterans receiving health care from the VA has dropped.
The VA is committed to preventing veteran suicide at large, in particular through programs like the Veterans Crisis Line.
Some veterans need even more help. That's where the Veterans Crisis Line comes in.
It's hard to reach these heroes. And it's hard to give them the power to realize that there's so much strength in putting yourself first and taking care of yourself.
"You know when you hit a baseball and you ... get that crack? It's like that when you're able to hear a person smile. And make a difference."
Each of us has the power to reach out to a veteran. If a veteran gets help, things can get better.
I'm sharing because I want every veteran to know about this. It might save that person's life.
If you or anyone you know needs support, pick up the
phone, dial 800-273-8255, and press 1 or visit the
Crisis Line website
to reach a caring, trained responder for a confidential
online chat and to connect with other resources.
I could call it a case, but really, this is my story. In the spring of 2003, I entered Iraq with a rifle and a side-arm. By the fall of 2003, I was walking into a classroom. Instead of worrying about snipers and dust storms and explosives, I was worrying about writing essays on Russian novels. I felt more nervous and awkward in the room of teenage students than I did months earlier in a foreign land in the dust-choked throat of war. I just knew they could see that I didnt belong with them. I could feel them looking at me with guarded suspicionthe quiet guy in the front rowthey knew I didnt belong. While they had been comfortably enjoying their youth, I had bled and fought with fear and mortality. I didnt resent them, but I partly wished I had their innocence and ignorance.
I quietly walked the halls and obsessively took notes in my classes, desperate to feel comfortable in this new setting and life. But I knew it was only a matter of time before I was exposed as an impostor. Certainly someone would announce to everyone that I was faking it: Hes not a real student. Hes not one of us. I felt they would be able to peek underneath and see the thoughts and experiences that I drifted to so often. The thoughts became a heavy blanket of security and comfort from the exposure that I felt.
The same thoughts and experiences separated them from me. The feel of the grip of my M-4 in my hand, my thumb brushing the safety. The deep penetrating rhythmic pulse of 50-caliber machine guns bursting in harmony. The smell of dirt and diesel and weeks-old sweat. The vivid realism of my thoughts gave me fleeting moments of normalcy within the distant isolation I felt.
In time, I settled in. This was largely by discovering that I was not alone. We discovered each other with an indoctrinated familiarity. Maybe the clue was a glimpse of a nylon belt or a matte-black knife in a pocket. The small things that all of us had that linked us to the life we had left. It wasnt long before we were doing our own group therapy over pints of beers and war stories. Our shared experiences and our shared identity meant we did not have to be alone. Eventually our group expanded and formalized. We began doing outreach at vet centers promoting education and welcoming new student veterans to the campus. We attempted to use our individual experiences with the uncertainties of transition to create an environment of acceptance and understanding.
Leaving the military is not an easy or simple process. Like any major transition, it brings the stress of adjustment to new roles, relationships, routines, and assumptions.1 According to Schlossberg, it is not the transition itself that is important but the degree of change. The roles, relationships, routines, and assumptions within combat are unlike anything that a service member finds outside of the military. The degree of change that a combat veteran experiences while transitioning to civilian life is profound. The potential psychological stress of coping with such a change exposes one to the risk of significant adverse effects to health and well-being. To effectively direct interventions and support, attention should be placed on the factors that contribute to the transition, or transitions, as well as the factors that contribute to the ability to successfully adapt to the transition.
Adaptation to transition
Schlossberg has done extensive work on transition and adaptation to transition. She has offered a model for analyzing human adaptation to transition in her aptly named 1981 article, A Model for Analyzing Human Adaptation to Transition.2 I believe that her model offers guidance and insight to the combat veteran transitioning to civilian life. Her model can help identify the variables that affect transition and adaptation and, thus, guide treatment to minimize the potential effects of any psychological stress.
She defines a transition as an event or non-event that results in a change in assumptions about oneself and the world and thus requires a corresponding change in ones behavior and relationships. Adaptation to transition is defined as a process during which an individual moves from being totally preoccupied with the transition to integrating the transition into his or her life.
Schlossbergs model, drawing from a large body of literature on adult development, lays out 3 major factors that influence adaptation to transition (Table):
1. The characteristics of the particular transition
She further states that the ease of adaptation to a transition depends on ones perceived and/or actual balance of resources to deficits in terms of the transition itself, the pre-post environment, and the individuals sense of competency, well-being, and health.2
Characteristics of the transition
The transition of the combat veteran to civilian life is part of a sequence of several other significant factors in the individuals life. The first is from civilian life to the military. This transition is facilitated through various levels of training aimed at establishing new roles, expectations, values, and norms of the military. The second transition is the experience of combat itself. Many of the roles and expectations of combat are taught and trained for prior to the experience. However, once within the unpredictability of actual combat situations, numerous influences have the power to change [ones] assumptions about oneself and the world.2 Each of these is significant in and of itself, but they also determine the ease with which a combat veteran will adapt to civilian life.
Schlossbergs model lays out several characteristics that can be used to describe a transition: role change (gain or loss); affect (positive or negative); source (internal or external); timing (on-time or off-time); onset (gradual or sudden); duration (permanent, temporary, uncertain); and degree of stress. Each of these may apply in varying degrees of relative influence and will certainly differ in importance based on the specific role that a combat veteran transitions to in civilian life.
For example, how can a combat veteran who leaves the service at 24 and enrolls in college fulfill these various characteristics? He can view leaving the service as the loss of a previous role, but inversely he may have a positive affect about gaining the role as a student. He may also feel that age 24 is a socially off-time to be starting college.
In addition, some individuals leave the military suddenly and not as the result of their own choice, which may negatively contribute to the overall level of psychological distress. The characteristics and ultimate degree of stress are influenced by the individuals perception of the transition as well as by individual personality type. An understanding of this may provide clues for potential areas of interest to improve coping with the transition.2
Pre-transition and post-transition environments
The second factor that influences adaptation to transition is the relative difference between the pre-transition and the post-transition environments. This relates to multiple different domains, including interpersonal support systems, institutional support systems, and the physical settings of the pre- and post-transition environments.2
When I started college, I felt disconnected to would-be peers until I found other veterans on campus with similar stories and experiences. In the military, individuals have relationships within their units that are based on shared experiences. When they transition out of the military, veterans often leave these relationships behind or have limited continued contact.
There are numerous different veteran groups around the country: some are national organizations, some are local and specific to regions. Some utilize recreation as a core, while others focus on volunteerism and continued service; other groups are simply social. All can help veterans forge a connection to others with similar experiences in order to have the interpersonal support that they may have had while on active duty. Recognition of this and referral to different groups may greatly improve the ability of combat veterans to successfully transition from active duty.
Characteristics of the individual
The third major factor that can affect adaptation to transition is the persons characteristics. There are multiple individual characteristics that can contribute to adaptation, but a few are of great significance to the combat veteran. The first is psychosocial competence. A model framework for psychosocial competence was defined by Tyler3 that involves self-attitudes, world attitudes, and behavioral attitudes.
PTSD, depression, and anxiety often afflict combat veterans. These disorders, perhaps especially PTSD, represent significant change in ones view and attitudes about ones self, the world, and subsequent behavioral attitudes. It is therefore not surprising that research conducted by the US Department of Veterans Affairs notes that those with PTSD have greater difficulty with reintegration, or transition, to civilian life than those without the disorder.4 Successful identification and treatment of PTSD and other psychiatric disorders can positively contribute to the psychosocial competence of the individual and in turn improve capacity for adaptation to transition.
The individuals state of overall health can also affect adaptation. Veterans as a group have poorer health and health behaviors than active duty or civilian populations, including higher rates of smoking, heavy alcohol use, and diabetes and lower levels of exercise.5
Age and life stage also play an important role in the adaptation to transition. It is unlikely that chronological age is of great importance, but life stage is. It may be important to recognize that the average combat veteran may have very different experiences in terms of leadership and responsibility than a civilian of similar chronological age. In addition, there are differences in the nature of stresses experienced and a difference in the ratio of positive to negative experiences. All of these contribute to the relative life stage of the individual.2
The final individual characteristic is the individuals experience with past transitions. As stated, the combat veteran has already participated in significant past transitions. The effectiveness with which the individual may have navigated those transitions may give clues about future success with transitions and may point to psychological or personality qualities that determine success or difficulty.
By several metrics I could say that my adaptation to transition from a combat role was successful. I graduated Phi Beta Kappa from a well-regarded university, graduated from medical school, and will be starting my 4th year of psychiatry residency as a chief resident. However, I still feel the grip of that life with a rifle that I led years ago. It is something that I know will never leave me completely. Thats OK because the real changethe real successis that I now feel comfortable and confident in my new role, with new relationships and expectations.
We all have different personalities and psychological
perspectives that contribute to our ability to adapt to
transition. Some of us may have had experiences or physical
injury leading to a radical shift in views and assumptions
about self and the world. We may be without the
interpersonal supports and relationships that may have
existed on active duty, which leaves us with a sense of
isolation and disconnection. Our physical health may have
declined. Perhaps we have struggled through every transition
we have faced in the past. There are many different factors
that contribute to the ability of the combat veteran to
successfully adapt to the transition to civilian life.
Successfully identifying those factors and addressing them
can lead to improved adaptation and subsequent improvement
in health and well-being.
thinking affects 'significant minority' of US veterans
The research, published in the Journal of Affective Disorders, used data from a nationally representative sample of over 2,000 American vets who were surveyed twice - once in 2011 and again in 2013 - in a study led by the Veteran's Affairs (VA) National Center for PTSD.
Each time, the survey asked the veterans whether they had experienced suicidal thoughts in the past 2 weeks, and also about a host of other factors associated with suicidal thinking.
The results showed that around 86% of participants reported having no suicidal thoughts in the previous 2 weeks at both times they were surveyed.
However, within the 14% or so who did report having had suicidal thoughts on at least one of the two survey occasions, nearly 4% showed remitted suicidal thinking - that is, they reported having thought about suicide in 2011, but not in 2013. And 5% showed the opposite pattern - they reported having thought about suicide in 2013, but had not done so 2 years earlier.
The researchers say this result highlights how suicidal thinking can come and go, at least within the span of a couple of years. This contradicts previous studies that suggest suicidal thinking tends to be a longer-term problem and emphasizes the need for continual monitoring of symptoms.
The findings also reveal a need for more outreach support. Among participants who reported having thought about suicide in 2013, but not 2 years earlier, only 35% had ever received any mental health treatment.
Social connectedness can be a buffer against suicide
Not surprisingly, the results show higher levels of physical health problems, psychiatric distress and history of substance use were linked to chronic suicidal thinking.
The findings also support the idea that social connectedness can be a buffer against suicide risk. It emerged as a factor in the 4% who showed remitted suicidal thinking, and among veterans who showed less social support in 2011, more were likely to report suicidal thoughts in 2013.
However, the authors note that for many of the participants reporting chronic suicidal thinking, social support appeared to have little effect. For these veterans, the priority is likely to be psychiatric and physical health care, as well as help dealing with substance abuse.
The researchers explain it is not easy to compare their figures with rates of suicidal thinking in the general population because studies on suicide vary widely in their methods.
However, a study that it might be reasonable to compare with, is one from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) that found 3.7% of adults in the US report having thought about suicide in the previous 12 months. By that standard, the rate of suicidal thinking in veterans is high.
This fits with other estimates that show while only 13% of adults in the US are veterans, they account for 22% of suicides, and that veterans are twice as likely to die from suicide as civilians.
The authors acknowledge that 2 years is probably not long enough for this kind of study - it cannot draw conclusions about the longer term.
Another potential weakness of the analysis is that around a third of the participants who responded in 2011 did not take part in 2013. If those who dropped out were the ones more likely to have suicidal thoughts, this could mean the estimates about suicidal thinking in veterans are too low.
Nevertheless, the researchers say their findings suggest "a significant minority" of veterans in the US has chronic, onset or remitted suicide ideation (SI), and conclude:
"Prevention and treatment efforts designed to mitigate psychiatric and physical health difficulties, and bolster social connectedness and protective psychosocial characteristics may help mitigate risk for SI."
In July 2015, Medical News Today learned that even 40
years after the end of the war, around a quarter
of a million Vietnam veterans have PTSD or some other
form of mental ill health.
veterans are heading west to fight a new battle: Worsening
Sand and gravel crunched under the pounding boots of about 150 men and women walking and jogging on a recent rain-drenched morning at Paramount Ranch in the Santa Monica mountains.
The wildland firefighter hopefuls were tackling a fitness test. They had to cover three miles of outdoor terrain with a 45-pound pack on their chests in less than 45 minutes.
Firefighting instructor Sage Decker ran alongside the trainees. Decker helped fight the Lilac and Thomas fires in Southern California last year, one of thousands of firefighters who came from all over the country to respond to a record fire season in the state.
Some, like Decker, had faced difficult battles before: they were military veterans who transitioned from service in the armed forces to battling wildfires.
When Decker first got out of the army in 2000, he had trouble finding a career that provided the fulfillment of military service. I was looking for jobs and I was doing some carpentry stuff, he said. I just wasnt really happy with that.
Deckers brother hooked him up with a fire crew in Wyoming, and it stuck: he now has 16 years of wildfire response under his belt. I think its a really good route to go. It provides stability, and just a good brotherhood, he said.
Between fire seasons, he travels the country providing training through a program with the Bureau of Land Management and Team Rubicon, a non-profit veteran service organization that responds to natural disasters worldwide.
With firefighting, veterans have a group of people that theyre with all the time, similar to a platoon or a battalion, Decker said. We deploy together. Military service translates really well into work on a fire line.
Veterans who complete the Team Rubicon-BLM course earn their Wildland Firefighter Type II certification, allowing them to mobilize to assist federal agencies in responding to fire and to be paid as firefighters.
Fire agencies are looking to recruit more veterans like Decker, said John Asselin, spokesman with the BLM.
Now were getting fires that are lasting longer into the year past the season, like the fires that were out here in December, Asselin said. So its really important that we have a pool of trained wildland firefighters.
Then-Interior Secretary Sally Jewell first announced the Team Rubicon-BLM partnership in 2015. Jewell and Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack stressed the growing threat of catastrophic wildfires due to climate change and drought, and the need for federal agencies to strengthen the available workforce required to safely contain increasingly ferocious wildland fires in Western states.
To date, Team Rubicon and BLM have trained more than 900 firefighters. This year the program is significantly expanding: its on course to reach a total of nearly 2,000 trained wildland firefighters by the end of 2018.
Organizers say military veterans are a logical resource for fire agencies because theyre accustomed to the physical challenges of working long hours on tough terrain. Its unique fire fighting, because its not the same as fighting a structure fire, Asselin said. This is a much bigger area. Its wildland fire, so its a huge area where you have to put large perimeters up.
Wildland firefighting is physically one of the toughest things you can do, said Jason Boeshore, Veterans Program Coordinator with the non-profit Conservation Legacy Southwest Conservation Corps in Durango, Colorado.
Boeshore recently took over the Veterans Fire Corps and Veterans Conservation Corps programs, developed to help returning servicemembers transition to civilian life by providing skills training and career connections in conservation and firefighting.
Boeshore deployed to Afghanistan with the Missouri Army National Guard and worked route clearancedetecting and digging up bombs near the Afghan-Pakistan border.
Once you endure the stress of combat, fires not so bad, he said.
Veterans Fire Corps teams live and working in the field, learning wildland firefighting 101: the basics of using chainsaws and hand tools to create a fire line, and wilderness first aid. Boeshore said most of the veterans spend two 6-month seasons with the Corps, then move on to join a fire crew somewhere else in the country. The priority is employment.
We have so many veterans out there that just need meaningful careers," Boeshore said, adding the Veterans Fire Corps is also growing this year. I have a lot of guys coming into this program that are jobless and homeless.
Veterans experience a lot of the things they miss from military life within the structure of firefighting crews, Boeshore said.
Veterans need camaraderie. They need to be part of a team. And when youre working in forestry, especially in fire, thats what you get, he said. Theres a chain of command. Theres a hierarchy. There are specific missions.
That sense of mission is what drew Marine Corps veteran Tomas de Oliveira to Team Rubicons wildland firefighting training. He lined up with fellow students getting sized for fire retardant pants, shirts, and gloves in high-visibility yellow.
I just always feel like I want to do more for people who find themselves in probably the worst day of their lives, de Oliveira said. I figured helping to fight the fires that we tend to have in California yearly would be a good way to do that.
In the Marines, de Oliveira spent years working embassy security around the world. Hes now a reservist. Last year he was part of the Team Rubicon response teams helping with Hurricane Harvey recovery in Texas.
De Oliveiras not sure about going into firefighting as a career path, but he said he thought the chainsaw skills will be useful in future disaster responses.
Overseeing the gear-fitting was Michael Lloyd, the National Wildland Firefighter Program Manager for Team Rubicon. He emphasized the need to assist veterans during the transition to civilian life, something he encountered firsthand as a veteran of Desert Storm and Desert Shield. Transition assistance was virtually nonexistent when he left the Navy in the 1990s.
It was hard. It took a couple of years to kinda get your bearing again, and to find that foundation of what your life was post-military, Lloyd said.
Fighting fires exercises all those things that you really got used to in the military that you lost when you come out into civilian life.
Successful rookies will get their red
cardsanother name for the Wildland Firefighting
Type II certificationby the end of the four-day
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