That’s a startling statistic.
I first became aware of these facts while researching my novel, Never Ending Night. The hero in my story is a veteran…maybe of the Civil War…it is a work of fiction after all! However, the reality of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder is not fiction. Readjusting to civilian life after service in a war zone is difficult and sometimes impossible for some veterans.
A number of vets who have difficulty adjusting often end up in prison. Those numbers have increased to the point that the Virginia penal system has created a separate compound for veterans. Sensitive to the specific needs of these men who served their country, the compound is designed like the dorms of a military style environment. The new dorms give the vets a sense of familiarity and provides opportunities to interact with other veterans. This method provides a better arena for the incarcerated vets to serve their prison time and hopefully readjust to civilian life. The Daily Beast
A research project discovered almost one in five veterans have either PTSD or major depression. Many prescription drugs are used to combat these conditions and rates of substance abuse among veterans have risen steadily every year.
There is another a method of treatment that is growing in popularity because of its success rate…service dogs specifically trained to assist vets. These animals provide companionship, purpose and can even sense an oncoming panic attack, especially during the night. They are trained to waken their owners before a full-blown panic attack can take hold of the sleeping veteran.
Most of these animals are dogs rescued from pounds...that way two of society’s lost members find purpose together. I can’t think of a better solution!
Organizations have sprung up all over the U.S. to help unite veterans and dogs. The organizations often provide these services free of charge…a benefit for families already suffering mental and financial stress. It’s estimated that it costs approximately $3000 dollars to train, and for veterinary services to prepare the dog to enter the veteran’s home.
If you would like more information or want to help a veteran and an animal, here is a site to check out. Vets Adopt Pets is an information/referral site for organizations across the U.S.
Buy Links for my story about a veteran called Never Ending Night:
Barnes and Noble