Since the birth of our great Nation no generation has been spared the responsibility of defending freedom by choice. Today, there are nearly 22,000,000 Veterans in the United States that have demonstrated their patriotism and love of freedom through their heroic efforts during armed conflict. These Warriors and their families have risked the ultimate sacrifice – their lives – to promote American ideals and jeopardized their dreams so that we can live ours and remain free. These soldiers and their loved ones are people we can all look up to as symbols of honor and respect and love of country. Their service and ethos serve as a model of inspiration and we must never forget their valor. Millions of veterans that have returned home from protecting our country are facing psychological difficulties and problems adjusting. Consider the following statistics:

  • There are over 5.5 million veterans with a disability
  • Since October 2001, approximately 1.6 million members of the Armed Forces haveserved in Iraq or Afghanistan.
  • There are about 37 million dependents (spouses and dependent children) of living veterans and survivors of deceased veterans. Together they represent 20% of the U.S. population.
  • Veterans are more than twice as likely as non-veterans to commit suicide and the “Katz Suicide Study,” dated February 21, 2008, found that suicide rates among veterans are approximately 3 times higher than in the general population.
  • Approximately 300,000 veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars – nearly 20% of the returning forces – are likely to suffer from either PTSD or major depression, and these numbers continue to climb.
  • While there is no cure for PTSD, early identification and treatment of PTSD symptoms may lessen the severity of the condition and improve the overall quality of life for veterans suffering from this condition.
  • Almost one in three veterans returning from Afghanistan and Iraq confront mental health problems.
  • On an average day in this country, suicide claims another 18 veterans.
  • Approximately 30 percent of veterans treated in the veterans health system suffer from depressive symptoms, two to three times the rate of the general population.