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Veterans start program helping other struggling vets

When military veterans struggle with mental, emotional and physical issues after returning from combat, it's often hard for people to help them. Vets may feel like no one else can really understand what they went through. Some have called it a post-military subculture.

That's the idea behind a new program that may help reform the way people all over the United States connect with these vets in crisis. The program sends other vets who have encountered similar issues to work with those who are currently dealing with them.

For instance, one man got in trouble with the authorities when he was threatening people outside of a house after using illegal drugs. He had a host of issues that experts said were unfortunately common with vets:

  • He was homeless.
  • He was using drugs.
  • He had been diagnosed with schizophrenia.
  • He suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
  • He had seen combat and sustained a brain injury.

Any one of these issues can derail someone's life, and he had to deal with them all at once. Rather than sending more police officers to throw him in jail, vets-turned-social workers came to the scene to help talk to him and straighten things out.

The goal, they said, is to bring the help that these vets need right to them. In the past, efforts have mainly focused on informing vets of what they can do if they need help -- what hotline to call -- but that is not proactive enough.

Anyone who suffers from these types of issues and war-related injuries absolutely needs to understand all of the options they have after returning home.

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