An estimated 1 out of every 4 active duty service members has demonstrated some sort of mental health condition, according to the National Alliance on Mental Illness.
An estimated 1 in 5 veterans of all eras suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and/or depression. More than a quarter million OEF/OIF veterans suffers from traumatic brain injury (TBI).
On average, an astounding 22 veterans commit suicide each day.
Around 3.8 million veterans have a service-connected disability, and of those, 1.1 million had a VA disability rating of 70% or higher.
About one out of every 8 veterans has a 100% rating.
According to Pew, nearly a third of all injured veterans served during the Vietnam era. Another notable statistic is that nearly three-in-ten disabled veterans (28%) report that their disability kept them from getting or keeping a job at some point in their lives.
Seriously wounded veterans are about three times as likely as others who served to say they suffered from post-traumatic stress (47% vs. 16%).
Perhaps one of the more troubling trends involving post-9/11 veterans is their view of family life. Only about half feels satisfied with the quality of their family life, which can perhaps be attributed to a greater degree of difficulty they face upon their transition to civilian life.
Why are do mental wounds seem more prevalent to post-9/11 veterans?
Frankly, it’s a bit of a catch-22. The Pew Center has a very succinct explanation on the theory behind this phenomenon.
It should be noted that service members who experienced the worst of earlier wars and survived may already have died in the years or decades since they were discharged. For surviving injured veterans of these previous conflicts, the memory of the burdens they bore also may have faded, while the struggles of recent wounded veterans remain vivid and fresh.
At the same time, war in the post-9/11 period has changed. Combat has become less lethal than in the earlier wars. Proportionately more soldiers now survive shattering injuries that would have killed their predecessors. However, they are often left to deal with the emotional and physical consequences of their injuries for the rest of their lives—and these experiences can color their attitudes toward the military.
According to Department of Defense casualty data compiled for each major U.S. war, troops fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan survive 88% of all combat injuries, compared with 72% in Vietnam, 63% in World War II and 44% in the Civil War.
That’s very telling, and it’s the reason why finding new ways to address this trauma is becoming increasingly vital for our veterans.