dave-mittlemanAs millions of veterans return from overseas tour of duties, the VFW is asking everyone, from former vets to ordinary citizens, to do something simple: find a vet and offer to listen. The VFW is responding to an alarming rise in military suicides with a concerted effort to give veterans the opportunity to talk about traumatic experiences rather than hold on to them.

A common problem among many returning veterans is post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). However, an expert noted that “whether people have full-blown PTSD or just some of the symptoms, most people do get better over a short period of time with the support of family and friends.” This would include the VFW’s plan of lending an ear to a veteran and allowing him or her to speak freely to someone who will just listen.

A 2005 study found that nearly 20% of Iraqi veterans suffered from a psychological disorder. Marines and Army vets were four times more likely to report PTSD than Navy of Air Force vets due to their greater exposure to combat situations. Additionally, women suffering from PTSD were found to have more pronounced and debilitating symptoms.

Given all the sacrifices that our veterans take to preserve our safety, the VFW call for help gives ordinary citizens concrete ways of being able to show their gratitude.