Essay on Issues in Today’s Society That Veterans Face

Published: 2021/12/28
Number of words: 2023


Reintegrating veterans back in society is a challenge globally, stemming from the vigorous military training they underwent during service. Most families and communities face significant difficulties adjusting to their unique needs, most of which are pertinent to their behaviors. Similarly, veterans experience myriad of ethical concerns when they try to adapt to civilian life, noting most people do not entirely understand their previous lifestyle. These problems had been envisaged a long time ago, leading to the institution of the Department of Veteran’s Affairs (VA), tasked with providing essential services, such as healthcare, benefit programs, and cemetery access for them and those who depend on them. However, most veterans still face reintegration hurdles in society. VA personnel are well trained to handle retired servicepersons, yet problems still exist in this department. Most of the issues encountered by the VA are organizational, mostly related to poor communication, irresponsiveness, lack of transparency and accountability, and inefficient healthcare services delivery. So, changing the environment from military to civilian is an absolute impediment to retired servicepersons, noting they have to deal with people without military training, most of whom have never undergone trauma in their lives. Issues that Veterans face when reintegrating in society are vast, mostly categorized into socio-economic factors and healthcare access, coupled with VA organizational ethical issues in handling them.

Social Factors

Reintegrating to society is a daunting task to veterans, noting they have to adjust to civilian legal standards that are entirely different from those of the military. In this context, the ex-servicepersons have to co-exist with new cultures and adopt social norms and values. Besides, veterans have trauma obtained from military operations, making them respond differently to social circumstances in society (Sripada et al. 663). For example, veterans can readily confront authority figures in the community, a response that corresponds to training drills in the military camp. Another problem is establishing relationships with families. Leading on from this social issue, the veteran finds it challenging to navigate intrinsic relationships with themselves, losing their sense of identity, role, and self-worth. In addition, coping with a new start as a civilian, no longer holding any ranks, especially when one was regarded as “Sergeant Doe” in the camp. Such changes trigger psychological problems among veterans, making them have social apathy in society.

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In the realm of all these social aspects that veterans face, VA was set up to offer social support and provide the resources so that they integrate readily into society. Several VA social facilities have been established across the USA, helping veterans to cope with their social problems. Most workers in these establishments are tasked with information linkages, counseling, referrals, and case management, to name a few (Albright 371). However, a disjoint in communication and irresponsiveness among the VA workers raises ethical organizational concerns, making veterans not to access services fully. A change in VA operations, therefore, can help in solving such shortfalls, as it will eventually assist most ex-servicepersons in attaining social services. Besides, poor communication in the VA workforce hampers the integration process because they cannot advise the veterans and their families effectively by understanding their social problems fully.

Economic Factors

Making reentry into civilian is not easy for the veterans even though the nation celebrates them for sacrifices they make to keep America great. Most retired soldiers find it hard to find jobs, as they grapple with poverty and homelessness. Currently, unemployment among USA veterans is high, meaning employers do not like them. Unless actions are undertaken to sort this problem, integrating soldiers back to the society will remain a daunting task. Statistics show that one in every five people depending on the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP), has an ex-soldier in it, hinting that majority of veterans languish in poverty (Brignone, Fargon, and Dennis 14). Economic turmoil is further exhibited by homelessness, as most veterans do not have a proper home, with males on top of the chart (Metraux 6). This problem has been enhanced by high foreclosure rates among military members. Moreover, more servicepersons have been wrongly foreclosed in the USA because they commonly face challenges paying their dues in time. Such mortgage problems, in conjunction with unemployment and poverty, piles to the issues veterans face to the society, encouraging their socio-economic complications.

Lack of transparency and accountability plagues VA facilities, making them unable to attend to veterans effectively. Besides, this facility has been linked to spending issues, excessive benefit claims, and leadership problems, issues depicting poor organizational structuring. Most veterans also face an insignificant wait time problem when they visit the VA facility, a hitch that seems to reinforce poor communication in VA premises. Ethical concerns are arising from workforces’ laxity to assist veterans in encouraging ethical concerns, most of which spur poor relationships between the ex-service persons who need help and the VA workers (Monteiro 34). This way, most veterans will loath visiting VA’s premises, unless intervention mechanisms are instituted, reinforcing proper organizational practices. The worst-case scenario may occur, whereby VA may lose credibility, forcing veterans to lose morale in seeking their help. Therefore, all social workers should understand the economic hurdles the veterans are facing in order to help them reintegrate into society.

Healthcare Delivery and Access

The American veterans suffer a myriad of health challenges, noting they have different military operation services and experiences. In addition, different individuals participated in specific wars, which are characterized by unique health issues, making the veteran population to suffer variedly. According to Olenick et al., the soldiers who worked in Operation Iraqi Freedom were more socially integrated into society than Vietnam and Persian Gulf veterans, as they were also less dependent on VA post-traumatic stress disorders (PSTD) interventions (638). Other problems accustomed to veterans include substance use disorders (SUDs), behavioral adjustment disorders, traumatic brain injury, suicide attempts, depression, chronic pain, and amputations (Blackburn 64). Leading on from all these problems, quality healthcare is, therefore, a fundamental provision that the government should consider when integrating these people back into their communities. The institution of VA was meant to help in this issue, yet veterans still face challenges accessing health services (Strom 71). Moreover, several VA-based hospitals are spread across the country, offering free and low health care services to veterans.

Accessibility to health provisions has been challenging to veterans, noting they face joblessness, making them economically vulnerable to attain quality care. Three major problems are, therefore, associated with these groups, concerning access to health care delivery. The first requirement is that one must have a general discharge or honorable discharge from duty so as to be eligible to receive VA benefits (Rodriguez and Alvin 21). The second problem is more of organizational issues, consisting of a combination of the long waitlist for care. The prolonged wait times are enhanced by a lack of healthcare providers, inferior scheduling methods, and other issues linked to transitioning to veteran care systems from military care systems. The final hitch is a social barrier, associated with care-seeking behavior characteristic of soldiers’ culture. This problem hinders veterans from pursuing health assistance, noting they are trained to tolerate harsh conditions. Some of these issues raise ethical concerns on VA operations, dictating the need for social workers to change the way they handle veterans.

Implications of the Research

Shedding light into socio-economic factors and health issues is crucial for improving the reintegration of veterans in society. This knowledge can help various institutions, tasked with offering services to veterans, change their operations in order to assist veterans. Several loopholes in the healthcare sector have also been identified, such as long waiting times, which arises due to a lack of sufficient healthcare providers to assist medical seekers – a case arising due to inadequate response from healthcare workers. This aspect is related to ethical concerns because caregivers do not want to react to veterans’ needs. Another angle of looking at this case is that there are few healthcare professionals providing care to people (Cheney et al. 591). The former case calls for a reorganization of VA facilities, while the latter situation demands the federal government’s intervention to employ more people so that the waitlist issue can be mitigated. Also, the social workers who are responsible for helping veterans should be trained adequately, making them understand the soldiers’ lifestyle. This program can be extended to the community level so as to help society comprehend ex-service persons.

Most importantly, this research delves into health matters deeply, revealing gaps that should be mended. As a recommendation, implementing and promoting health-related issues in training curricular can improve holistic care for veterans, as caregivers will be able to attain ample education, enabling them to grasp essentials for aiding veterans. Meanwhile, understanding the issues that veterans face in society is helpful, as people can understand them well, thereby assisting them to reintegrate into society. Also, the worrying trend of the increased number of veterans without jobs, living a hapless life, is worrisome, making society look disjointed. Addressing veterans’ issues can reduce the ongoing adverse trend about them, improving the favorable treatment of the USA ex-service persons.

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The combination of social and economic factors, as well as healthcare delivery problems, contributes immensely to issues that veterans face in society. Also, organizational ethical issues from social workers’ departments, including VA, enhances veterans’ challenges, making their integration back to civilian life more difficult. This argument is significant because it addresses all ethical concerns surrounding veterans’ socio-economic aspects and healthcare access issues. Besides, it sheds light on VA’s management loopholes when they are helping ex-service persons to transform back to civilian life.

Several problems have been addressed that veterans face. The social issues are mostly related to military training drills and traumatic events that veterans faced when they were serving the country, making them unable to transition seamlessly into civilian life when they retire. These challenges are worsened by lack of jobs and poverty. Moreover, many ex-service persons face mortgage challenges, as they are unable to own houses – an issue that has encouraged homelessness among the veterans. Finally, healthcare delivery facilities are plagued by irresponsiveness, unaccountability, and long waiting times, prompting veterans’ sufferings. Most ex-servicepersons have a military mentality, discouraging them from seeking social assistance and healthcare aid, as they believe in enduring pain and harsh conditions. Therefore, understanding their norms and cultural concepts can help society in aiding their reintegration back to civilian life.

Works Cited

Albright, David L. “Social Work Practice with Veterans.” Social Work, Vol. 62, no. 4, 2017, pp. 371-372.

American Public Health Association. “Removing barriers to mental health services for veterans.” Policy, vol. 23, no. 4, 2014, pp. 23-56.

Blackburn, Dave. “Out of Uniform: Psychosocial Issues Experienced and Coping Mechanisms Used by Veterans During the Military–Civilian Transition.” Journal of Military, Veteran and Family Health, vol. 3, no. 1, 2017, pp. 62-69.

Brignone, Emily, J. Fargon, and Dennis P. Culhane. “Epidemiology of Homelessness Among Veterans.” Homelessness Among US Veterans, Critical Perspective, vol 23, no. 6 2018, pp. 13-34.

Cheney, Ann M., et al. “Veteran-Centered Barriers to VA Mental Healthcare Services Use.” BMC Health Services Research, vol. 18, no. 1, 2018, p. 591.

Metraux, Stephen. “Homelessness Among Recent US Veterans in 10 Questions.” VA National Center on Homelessness Among Veterans, Vol. 1, no. 12, 2018, pp. 1-10

Monteiro, Lynette M., et al., editors. Practitioner’s Guide to Ethics and Mindfulness-Based Interventions. Springer, 2017.

Olenick, Maria et al. “US Veterans and their Unique Issues: Enhancing Health Care Professional Awareness.” Advances in Medical Education and Practice, vol. 6, no. 12, 2015, pp. 635-639. doi:10.2147/AMEP.S89479

Rodriguez, Alejandro, and Alvin Brown. “Conceptualizing Leadership Psychosis: The Department of Veteran Affairs Scandal.” International Journal of Public Leadership, vol. 12, no. 1, 2016, pp. 14-31.

Sripada, Rebecca K., et al. “Self-Determination Theory and Outpatient Follow-Up After Psychiatric Hospitalization.” Community Mental Health Journal, vol. 52, no. 6, 2016, pp. 662-666.

Strom, Thad Q., et al. “Cultural and Ethical Considerations When Working with Military Personnel and Veterans: A Primer for VA Training Programs.” Training and Education in Professional Psychology, vol. 6, no. 2, 2012, pp. 67-75.

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