statement of need
why we're raising money for the veteran reintegration program
The Department of Veterans Affairs has estimated that in 2010, between 350,000 and 650,000 veterans lived in Maryland. Montgomery County has one of the highest veteran populations within the state, with greater than 50,000 veterans living within the county or at least 5% of the population.
Over 50% of male veterans and 75% of female veterans suffer from chronic pain. The Department of Veteran’s Affairs has launched an “Opioid Safety Initiative”, replacing the use of addictive opioid prescriptions with the use of evidence-based practices such as meditation, yoga and tai chi to treat pain.
Based on the estimates of the prevalence of PTSD in the veteran population (25%), up to 12,000 veterans in Montgomery County may be suffering from PTSD and other mental health conditions, making mental health care for veterans a critical need in our community. “Honoring and meeting the needs of our military and veteran community is a top priority for me”, said Montgomery County Executive Isaiah Leggett.
Mental health concerns are an all-too-frequent result of the extreme stress and trauma that veterans face in circumstances of war. The effects of these concerns include significant deterioration in quality of life, inability to socially relate with family, friends or co-workers, pharmacological complications, loss of sleep and widespread comorbidity.
Mental health concerns occur in alarming proportions among soldiers exposed to war or violence. Surveys have shown an incidence of PTSD as high as 30% amongst soldiers who have returned from service in Iraq. Rates of suicide among veterans are the highest of any population, estimated at 1 out of every 5 suicides, and occurring at an increasingly high rate. Safety nets for this population are critical, and the number of veterans residing in Montgomery County far exceed currently available services (WRAMC).