A National Shame
July 24, 2010 A poignant story in last Sunday's Chronicle drew attention to the plight of Houston-area veterans — in this case, an Iraq veteran coping with finding himself homeless, alienated, confused and angry to the point that he found himself attacking his own mother and spending four days in jail - all within six months of his Army discharge.
As reported by Lindsay Wise, the soldier, Jacobí Montgomery, from Beaumont, eventually found help at the Veterans Administration in Houston, where he was diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), depression, apnea and insomnia.
The story is all too familiar with returning vets - the invisible wounds of PTSD, traumatic brain injuries and depression.
And while the VA is working to make it easier to qualify for benefits, it is a shame and a sorrow that life back home can be so difficult for so many of those who have willingly risked their lives for the rest of us.
Of the almost 2 million troops who have served in Iraq and Afghanistan since 2001, about 20 percent return with PTSD, and even more with non-visible traumatic brain injuries. But only about half that number seek treatment.
Like Montgomery, many of them, about 107,000, are homeless, making up roughly a third of the country's adult homeless population. In Houston, reported Wise, about 3,500 vets are currently homeless. Continued