“I am a vet who had two tours in Iraq and one in Afghanistan” I know my PTSD caused the loss of my wife and two kids. And, without going into the whole story, it led me to jail time and almost homelessness. I have finally I have recovered much of who I was and I give lots of credit to my VA therapist and the VA’s financial awards. My therapist was understanding and helpful from our very first meeting and the VA, though it took lots of time and effort, gave me 80% life long disability funds which allowed me to come back to life. So I object to your characterizations of failures of the VA and VA hospitals.
Dr. Alpern. I only wish your successes with the VA were the more typical story. There is no doubt that the VA employs many people deeply committed as well as skillful in helping vets. Unfortunately the trouble is that your story is the exception. As stated in the book, the hard statistics document that the vast majority of vets experiences with the VA are negative. The book encourages communities, families, local vet organizations, non-profits and profit organizations to provide the help the VA has not. Based on the data my belief is that , based on the data, depending on big government to solve veterans problems is a losing proposition whereas local efforts (such as Huts for Vets, Welcome Home Montrose and various wilderness programs) have been very successful and bear duplicating. However, your story is important. You may be able to help other vets by offering details of how you dealt with the VA. Vets are so disheartened and tired of filling out forms that many have given up on getting help from the VA. Finding a way to tell or to teach, what you were able to do could provide very useful guidance to your fellow vets.