Pew study shows injured vets struggle in return to civilian life | Buzz Blog

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Pew study shows injured vets struggle in return to civilian life

Posted By on November 9, 2011, 11:04 AM

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Matthew D. LaPlante’s powerful CW cover story this week about a new system of veterans-specific courts in the justice system—and whether they are fair and/or helpful to veterans and non-veterans—is timely, given the influx of combat-scarred servicemen and women about to return to the States as the military largely leaves Afghanistan by the end of the year.---

You can read LaPlante’s story here, and decide for yourself whether or not the veterans courts are a good idea.

The timing of LaPlante’s story coincides with both the Veterans Day holiday on Friday, and a new Pew Research Center study on injured vets that landed in City Weekly’s inbox this week.

You can read the entire Pew study here, but the gist of it is a dramatic picture of life for U.S. military personnel who have been injured while serving their country. One out of every 10 living veterans—2.2 million veterans in all—was seriously injured at some point while serving, and 75 percent of those injuries occurred in combat.

Those injuries linger well beyond the veterans’ time in the military, according to the survey. More than half of the veterans who were seriously injured in combat believe that the U.S. government has not done all it can to help them recover, physically or emotionally. Those same seriously injured vets were more than twice as likely to have a hard time adjusting to civilian life when they got home, compared to non-injured vets, and were three times more likely to suffer from post-traumatic stress.

One particularly telling schism in the veterans’ responses to the Pew survey, conducted between July 18 and Sept. 4 of this year, was the difference in how veterans saw the quality of their medical care after returning home, depending on whether the veteran served before or after 9/11. Vets who left the service before 9/11—a group that includes surviving members of past wars in Korea, Vietnam and various World War II venues—had positive things to say about their medical care, at a rate of 71 percent. Post-9/11 veterans only came in at 55 percent in terms of their satisfaction with medical care.

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