Lately, the news for our U.S. veterans hasn’t been particularly encouraging, especially for those veterans who need access to prompt, compassionate mental and physical health care. While our government works on correcting these issues, there are already efforts underway to provide much-needed support to the thousands of American men and women who served this country. A new campaign from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, called Make The Connection, asks our military veterans to serve each other in ways only they know how.
Make The Connection stems from the reality that no one other than those who have been in the military, in combat, living in dangerous conditions 24/7 can fully grasp the range of emotions and issues that await then upon their return—frustration, loneliness, anger, helplessness. When you watch the short video below, you’ll understand why Make The Connection exists.
Through participation in the campaign, veterans, their families, and others can make a difference in the lives of other veterans through the power of video. Documentation teams are going from city to city, recording the stories of our hometown heroes who speak from the heart about homelessness, family and relationships, financial and legal issues, transitioning from service, education, spirituality, and other life events and experiences. The videos are featured on the Make the Connection web site, where you can see and hear contributors speak about issues common to many returning military personnel, and these issues can have a profound effect on an individual’s ability to thrive.
Conditions include post-traumatic stress syndrome (PTSD), depression, problems with drugs and alcohol, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, anxiety disorders, and even suicide. Besides ‘making the connection,’ the web site provides a full component of resources by zip code to enable struggling veterans throughout the country with targeted assistance—VA medical centers, outpatient clinics, PTSD programs, VA chaplains, housing, education and training, employment, caregiver support, and much more. But it’s the compelling videos that might have the most influence in helping our veterans.
The recruiting flyer above announces upcoming interview locations and dates for veterans and their families in Oklahoma City. They’re invited to share their experiences in overcoming challenges. The hope is that these stories closely reflect the circumstances of others, giving them the power to inspire and positively affect the lives of fellow veterans. If you know of a veteran who is experiencing difficulties, you might want to offer this link to the Make The Connection video gallery.
When troubled veterans access this page, they immediately realize they’re not alone and that their comrades in arms have their back once again. This is a place where they can get the help they need and, ultimately, give back when they’ve found a solution to whatever made them reach for that page in the first place. The two Make The Connection videos below represent the kinds of stories told by veterans and those who love them. What can YOU do to help spread the word about Make The Connection for veterans in your area?