‣ 80,000 Warriors were lost to suicide in the last decade. To put this in perspective, during 18 years of combat in Vietnam, 58,209 Warriors lost their lives.
‣ Only 16% of Warriors report improvement after undergoing the medication management and talk therapy treatment at the VA.
‣ The VA spends roughly $8,300 per Warrior with PTS, annually.
‣ We have served hundreds of Warriors with PTS and suicidal ideation who assert their lives have been changed.
‣ In comparison to the VA, SAW costs less than $3,500 per Warrior.
CASE STUDY: WARRIORS WHO SERVED IN VIETNAM
2.7 million Warriors served in Vietnam. 58,209 of them were killed in action. More than 530,000 have sought treatment at the VA for PTS. It is estimated that over 150,000 of them have committed suicide since coming home, at 33% above the national average. Their divorce rate is 90%. 500,000 have been arrested. It is estimated that 100,000 are in prison today with 200,000 on parole. 40% are unemployed and 25% earn less than $7,000 per year. It is estimated that between 50-70% have drug and alcohol abuse problems. If we don't act now, history will repeat itself.
Source: Dean, C. (1990). Nam vet: Making peace with your past. Portland, Or: Multnomah Press.
WARRIORS OF IRAQ AND AFGHANISTAN: BY THE NUMBERS
There are 2.6 million Warriors who served in Iraq and Afghanistan. A 2014 study of 2,150 Warriors revealed some startling statistics regarding Post Traumatic Stress that bring into question earlier estimates regarding the number of Warriors affected by their experiences in the combat zone.
It is possible that as many as 75% of the respondents of this study suffer from Post Traumatic Stress. Even if not all respondents do meet the requirements for diagnosis, it is obvious that they are encountering some mental or emotional difficulties after serving in the combat zone and could benefit from opportunities to heal.
Unfortunately, most of those who have sought care have not found healing. A recent study by the American Legion found that only 16% of Warriors who were treated at the VA for Post Traumatic Stress with talk-therapy and medication management reported that those methods were clearly beneficial for their health.
For the 27% who are not seeking care, the top 5 reasons are:
- Don’t want to be perceived differently by others (46%).
- Concerned it might affect their career (33%).
- Difficulty getting time off work (23%).
- Never returned after their initial visit with a provider (22%).
- Prefer talking to friends/family (20%).
While many studies are finding that there are a variety of issues with prescribing anti-depressants to treat Post Traumatic Stress, it is no secret within the Warrior community that they are less than ideal. Warriors consistently report that medications make them feel "numb" and come with a whole host of side-effects that affect their overall well-being. Furthermore, medications cannot heal Post Traumatic Stress. It can only mask the symptoms, but at great cost. On the other hand, meditation can literally begin to heal the brain in a matter of weeks, without any side effects.
Source: IAVA, (2014). 2014 IAVA Member Survey. Retrieved from http://media.iava.org/IAVA_Member_Survey_2014.pdf
Source: The American Legion, (2014). The War Within: Treatment of TBI and PTSD Findings and Recommendations. Retrieved from http://legion.org/documents/legion/pdf/american-legion-war-within.pdf