WASHINGTON, Oct. 14, 2021 /PRNewswire/ -- Veterans and Military Families for Progress ("VMFP") is gravely concerned about one aspect of the withdrawal from Afghanistan that is not receiving much attention publicly from government officials or the media: The psychological effects of the pullout on veterans' mental health.
Whether or not the withdrawal is appropriate is not at issue here. VMFP is aware that the pullout as an action by itself has the capacity to trigger deep emotions that require support and assistance for veterans to navigate. Veterans are reporting feelings of confusion and distress as to the value of their service in the theater. VMFP is concerned that veterans are at greater risk of depression and potentially self-harm as a result. No veteran should be saddled with such feelings of self-doubt after serving their country honorably and at the American people's direction.
This mental health crisis has rippling effects. It impacts the loved ones of those who have served. Imagine having lost a family member in this conflict and then struggling with thoughts that their loss was in vain. Sadly, too often care for others tangentially effected by a loved one's service remains outside the reach of existing institutions. It is our strong belief that by at least addressing the issue where possible, others who are impacted may well experience a degree of consolation.
A related aspect of the pullout further complicates the situation. The potential for non-Americans who assisted veterans in performing their duties to be left behind adds to the emotional distress. Veterans may experience profound feelings of guilt for any harm done to friendly individuals who cooperated and assisted in the mission. This too is unacceptable on several different levels. It is simply wrong and immoral to endanger individuals who put themselves at risk to assist the United States. Veterans should not have the added burden of concern for individuals in whom they placed their trust and safety during their tour of duty. Abandonment of these individuals sets a horrible precedent for future conflicts as it will inevitably discourage future cooperation and endanger both the mission and the safety of U.S. servicemen and missions.
VMFP strongly encourages all relevant government agencies and veterans service organizations to immediately implement the following:
- Direct financial resources and social services to assist veterans in coping with psychological issues associated with the pullout.
- Demand that government officials provide for the well-being of non-Americans who assisted American servicemen and women in their service, whether they are at the airport in Kabul or in the rural areas.
Media Contact: Matthew Cary, firstname.lastname@example.org
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SOURCE Veterans and Military Families for Progress