In 2009 the VA projected that one third of the homeless population in America served in armed forces. It also said to date more Vietnam era Veterans are homeless than died in the war ( 18 ).
A relatively new phenomenon is homeless female veterans. Its also on the rise, over the past ten years from three percent of all veterans to five percent(2008)(19 ).
It was reported in 2009 that Sexual assaults done by US Military personal rose eight percent and sexual assaults reported in Iraq and Afghanistan rose by a quarter from the previous year. The victims were both military and civilian. Dr Kaye Whitley, the director of the Pentagon's Sexual Assault and Prevention Office, said "Given the fear and stigma associated with the crime, sexual assault remains one of our nation's most under-reported crimes in both the military and civilian community,"(20 ).
It was reported in 2009 in what could be considered a sign of the stress American troops are under, troops that are undergoing treatment for alcohol dependency or abuse has nearly doubled since 2003 (21 ).
the suicide rate for vets from 2005 to 2007 jumped 26 percent. Of these most of them served in Iraq or Afghanistan. If the vets used the VA health care they were less likely to commit suicide (22 ).
It was reported in 2009 that suicide among members of the armed forces is at a three decade high (23 ).
In 2009 Army Vice Chief of Staff Gen. Peter W. Chiarelli said "We are almost certainly going to end the year higher than last year," and "Every single loss is devastating.". If their could be a bright side the rate had been declining (24 ).
A Marine veteran Jonathan Schulze, hung himself a week after he tried and failed to receive help from two VA hospitals (25 ).
The family of 23 year old Jeffrey Lucey a Marine got a settlement from the US government. Jeffrey Lucey committed suicide while in VA care (26 ).
Magellan Health Services, Inc is researching treating PTSD with Virtual Reality Exposure Therapy (VRET). Therapy and anxiety disorder expert Barbara Rothbaum, Ph.D., said "VRET uses a new medium to deliver exposure therapy, one of the most evidence-based methods of treatment for posttraumatic stress disorder," and "The virtual environments used in this type of therapy are more than just multimedia. They're active experiences that immerse patients back in the situations in which their most traumatic experiences occurred so they can see, hear, feel and smell their surroundings. Each environment is tailored to individuals' personal experience so they feel as though they're re-living the event over and over again, but in a therapeutic manner. Through this process, they eventually handle the experience more adaptively and it becomes a less invasive part of their current lives," (27 ).
Some combat vets are trying Chinese medicine to treat psychological trama connected to war. It called Emotional Freedom Technique, or EFT and uses acupuncture points used in Chinese medicine(28 ). Some military have turned to acupuncture aid in relieving pain of injuries they received in combat (29 ).
Psychiatrists and researchers are successfully using the drug ecstasy (methylenedioxymethamphetamine) to treat Vets who suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder, and they are asking the VA to expand the program (30 ).
Morphine may help ward off post-traumatic stress disorder. Research shows that of the troops who were wounded Iraq and received morphine soon after their injury are half as likely to get this disorder (31 ).
Getting back to the care of our enlisted or veterans care or the lack of it. What happened?
The Bush (Jr)era
Bush (Jr) support of disabled vets has been shaky at best. In 2002 the Congress wanted to give disabled vets full benefits, it was projected to cost 58 billion dollars. Other from the Bush camp claimed this would also allowed disabled vets "double dip" (collect two retirements)(32 ).
Bush planned to post pone this until after the 2002 elections. Ronald F. Conley national commander of the American Legion's( American Legion has 2.8 million members ) said in a letter to Bush, it would be "height of hypocrisy" to postpone a decision until after the election and then "let it die quietly."(33 ).