May 22, 2016
Every week more folks are stepping up attempting to do something about making lives better for our veterans. While that may sound like a really wonderful thing, it is far from it. The desire to help is one thing yet gaining the knowledge to do it seems to be last on their to do list. The results prove they have been doing more harm than good.
Last night I had a long conversation about someone starting another charity. The usual claim about being different fell flat. Awareness boiled down to whatever the latest headline summarized but that wasn't the worst part. The person did not find any of this important enough to have taken the time to actually learn what they needed to know. So how important is it to them?
How can anyone be so egotistical they think that they have the answers when they didn't even bother to put in the time to learn what the questions are?
Do Veterans deserve the support or does the charity? It is a question all of us should be asking before we promote any charity. Think of it this way. Efforts to address combat PTSD began four decades ago when, as with all other generations, Vietnam veterans came home suffering and decided to fight for this war wound to be treated. It was not a new affliction. It just had a new name for it and research proved some wounds strike beneath the skin.
We seem all too aware of the problems veterans and families face, not that it was ever a secret for families. Civilians didn't know what our veterans came home with. That is one thing all these good doers seem to understand because it was easy for them. All they had to do was read a headline, get on social media and contact a report with the same limited interest in the subject.
If you doubt how many just jumped on the "I'm doing something" wagon, this should clear that up.
A Donor's Guide to Serving the Needs of Veterans and the Military "Donors who want to make contributions towards charitable programs that serve the military and veterans face an almost overwhelming volume of choices with, by some accounts, the existence of over 40,000 nonprofit organizations dedicated to serving the military and veterans and an estimated 400,000 service organizations that in some way touch veterans or service members."With all these charities popping up you'd think things would get better, but they have actually gotten worse. The truth is, veterans are still committing suicide double the civilian rate. For veterans over the age of 50, they are 78% of those in the VA data base. Younger veterans trained in "resilience" are triple their peer rate which is stunning since these veterans had been trained by the DOD in prevention since 2007.
"Even the 2013/2014 Directory of Veterans and Military Service Organizations published by the U.S. Office of the Secretary of Veterans Affairs as an informational service for veterans seeking support lists over 140 national nonprofit organizations. Additionally, the number of new veterans charities has increased relatively rapidly over the past five years or so, growing by 41% since 2008 compared with 19% for charities in general, according to The Urban Institute as reported in a December 2013 The NonProfit Times article."
All of them managed to survive in combat, found life so important they were willing to die to save others, yet too many cannot find a reason to live one more day. Pretty repulsive when you think about it that way.
So what can we do to actually make a difference? Stop supporting the want-to-be-good-doers and start actually making veterans aware they can heal and do not have to suffer the rest of their lives. Give them a reason to want to stay alive when the battle is about their own lives.
Learn the truth.
Start asking question before you give anyone with a charity any type of support.
Do they actually have something different to offer?
Do they know what they are talking about?
What is their background and training?
What are they actually planning on doing with the money?
Do they have resources to actually do it like experts and advisors?
How much time are they putting into the effort?
How long have they been involved with veterans?
Think of everything you would want to know before you sent someone you loved to them for help.
If you would not trust them to take care of your family member then why trust them with your money? Do you trust them to do good instead of cause more harm? So far most seem to be doing it for themselves and not for the veterans they claim to be taking care of. If they were not interested in putting in the time before they decided to "do something" then plan on more harm than good being done and these heartbreaking out comes.