The men and women of the United States Armed Forces sacrifice personally for our collective national interest. For
many veterans, this sacrifice means injuries and wounds. Many of these wounds are physical, but many are psychological as well. Some sobering veteran mental health statistics include:
- A suicide rate 1.5 times greater than the general population;
- A PTSD rate of 11-20% for those serving in Vietnam and subsequent conflicts; and
- Veterans are diagnosed with severe depression at a rate double that of the general population.
While much is being done by both the public and private sector to help veterans, these statistics are strong evidence that our work is not yet finished. Effectively addressing the mental health needs of veteran means looking at what mental health services are provided to our veterans and whether those services are helping. The best place to start this process is to listen to real stories of our veterans themselves to learn more and understand their perspectives.
The Wisconsin Veterans Listening Tour
To better understand our veteran’s mental health needs and how those needs are presently served being by the VA, private providers and nonprofit organizations, the Simcakoski Foundation is convening a Veterans Listening Tour across Wisconsin. The goal of the Tour is to hear firsthand from Wisconsin veterans about what matters most to them: the challenges they face, their successes in the face of adversity as well as where gaps exist in services. The tour will involve meetings and group discussions to hear firsthand from Wisconsin vets. Stories will recorded and information collected will be brought by officers of the Foundation to Washington, DC this April and shared with policymakers to both educate them and hopefully help guide their decision-making.