There are over 35,000 soldiers who have been wounded in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Although injuries that veterans endure today are comparable to that of their military predecessors, the massive use of explosive devises can cause devastating wounds. The physical wounds from IED’s or suicide bombers include TBI, traumatic amputation, shrapnel wounds, burns and other very complex injuries.
Many others suffer physical wounds and injuries that are not always visible. Because of improvements in evacuation techniques, body armor, and battlefield medicine, many who would have died can now be saved. We are, however, experiencing an influx of service members returning home from war and needing specialized long term care. Many of these wounds are often accompanied by relentless physical pain, and may often be complicated by Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and Depression .
Witnessing the death and injury of friends and peers can prove to be both psychologically and physically damaging. Repeated deployments in extremely unstable and unpredictable environments have resulted in very high levels of traumatic exposure for all service members, regardless of gender or job title.
Untreated or undertreated, these invisible wounds can affect not only the individual, but their families and caregivers as well. They can impact physically, psychosocially, economically, and spiritually, taking away quality of life.
What is the CIAV doing?
The American Pain Foundation and the Military and Veterans Initiative provides information, support, resources, for individuals, family members and caregivers of those who suffer from chronic pain. APF also works to advance legislation to improve pain care for all Military and Veterans.
The Coming Home Project offers a range of free services: residential retreats; psychological counseling; education, training and consultation; self-care for service providers; and community forums. Their programs address the emotional, spiritual, relationship, and reintegration challenges faced by veterans and families before, during and after deployment.
Sentinels of Freedom Scholarship Foundation provides four-year “life scholarships” to help severely injured veterans become self-sufficient. Their mission is to provide life-changing opportunities for members of the U.S. Armed Forces who have suffered severe injuries and need the support of grateful communities to realize their dreams.
Intrepid Fallen Heroes Fund is currently designing a new center to provide support for military personnel and veterans with TBI, post traumatic stress disorder, and/or complex psychological health issues including the most advanced services for advanced diagnostics, initial treatment plan and family education, introduction to therapeutic modalities, referral and reintegration.
Vets4Vets provides free weekend workshops that focus on peer support. During these weekend workshops, veterans get to relive the camaraderie that was experienced throughout our service in the military. At the same time, they can discuss their experiences and potential hardships in a confidential setting with fellow service members who understand, and may have shared similar experiences.