A Georgia Veteran’s Resource Guide
Invisible Wounds of War: Psychological and Cognitive Injuries, Their Consequences, and Services to Assist Recovery
This grass roots organization that utilizes innovative approaches to helping veterans of all wars with the entire spectrum of the effects of war and military service. The organization is made up of veterans, mental health professionals, and citizens. Not only are the group members involved with helping veterans but their families and the community as well. This small grass roots organization is one that fosters alternative as well as mainstream approaches to helping veterans with the diagnosis of PTSD. Not only are the group members involved with helping veterans but their families as well. Since I am one of the founding members, I have a strong preference for the work. www.Veteransheartgeorgia.org
Veteran’s Heart Georgia fosters the healing of veterans of all wars by attending to the spiritual and emotional needs of veterans, their families, and our communities.
We are addressing the effects of war by creating a community-based network of services, resources and education.
This network includes:
- consultation with specially trained counselors and mental health clinicians for veterans and families;
- workshops and programs for veterans, couples and families, community gatherings and training for professionals;
- outreach and mentoring by trained, seasoned veterans;
- community education and involvement.
This work was influenced by concepts found in the book, War and the Soul, by Edward Tick.
We believe that:
- There is healing for the invisible wounds of war-related PTSD*
- The core work is the nurturing of a positive warrior identity
- The suffering of families must be addressed, including the unaddressed wounds of war passed down through generations of families that have experienced war.
- The citizens of our communities, those who are protected and guarded, must share the burden of the wounds of those who have gone to war.
“Veterans are the light at the tip of the candle, illuminating the
way for the whole nation. If veterans can achieve awareness,
transformation, understanding, and peace, they can share
with the rest of society the realities of war. And they can teach
us how to make peace with ourselves and each other, so we
never have to use violence to resolve conflicts again”.
-Thich Nhat Hahn
We invite all to begin the journey toward healing and resolution, recovery and reconciliation, moving towards a mature, peaceful and balanced Warrior identity for our veterans.
Veteran’s Heart Georgia has no political agenda, no goals beyond fostering healing from the effects of war. Our work is focused right here, on this healing.
The State of Georgia Department of Veterans Services (SDVS) is the state agency charged with the responsibility of being the veterans advocate. The Department's mission falls into two basic tasks: 1.informing the veterans and their families about veterans' benefits. 2. Directly assisting and advising veterans and their families in securing the federal and state benefits to which they are entitled. This agency is for the veterans’ protection and is charged with the responsibility of ensuring that the Federal Government fulfills its promises to Georgia’s Veterans.
The mission of the Department of Veterans Service is to serve the some 700,000-plus veterans residing in Georgia, their dependents, and survivors in all matters pertaining to veteran’s benefits.
The State Board of Veterans Service recommends policy, procedure and work projects to the Commissioner, and through him controls overall Department policy.
The Department's mission falls into two basic tasks: informing the veterans and their families about veterans' benefits; and directly assisting and advising veterans and their families in securing the federal and state benefits to which they are entitled.
The Department maintains a Claims Staff in the U. S. Department of Veterans Affairs Atlanta Regional Office, 1700 Clairmont Road, Decatur, Ga.; operates field offices with itinerant service in the state's 159 counties; and provides representatives in the Atlanta, Augusta, and Dublin VA Medical Centers.
The Department owns the Georgia War Veterans Home in Milledgeville, which is operated under contract with Priva Trends of Toccoa, Ga., and the Georgia War Veterans Nursing Home in Augusta, which is operated under contract with the Medical College of Georgia.
The Department of Veterans Service assists veterans and their dependents in filing claims and securing medical evidence and other data necessary to prosecute their claims filed with VA and other federal and state agencies.
The Department of Veterans Service also serves as the state approving agency for education programs administered by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.
Commissioner Pete Wheeler
State Veterans Service Board
State Veterans Leadership
Georgia Department of Veteran’s Services
The Disabled American Veterans organization is one of the oldest organizations helping Veterans. One of the criteria for working at DAV is that the service officers have a disability that was inflicted on the officer while he or she was in the military on active duty.
Disabled American Veterans has never wavered in our commitment to serve our nation’s service-connected disabled veterans, their dependents and survivors. Our largest endeavor in fulfilling that mission is our National Service Program. In 88 offices throughout the United States and in Puerto Rico, the DAV employs a corps of approximately 260 National Service Officers (NSOs) who represent veterans and their families with claims for benefits from the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), the Department of Defense and other government agencies. Veterans need not be DAV members to take advantage of this outstanding assistance, which is provided free of charge.
NSOs function as attorneys-in-fact, assisting veterans and their families in filing claims for VA disability compensation and pension; vocational rehabilitation and employment; education; home loan guaranty; life insurance; death benefits; health care and much more. They provide free services, such as information seminars, counseling and community outreach. NSOs also represent veterans and active duty military personnel before Discharge Review Boards, Boards for Correction of Military Records, Physical Evaluation Boards and other official panels.
My association with NABV has mostly been through my relationship with Balewa Alimayu, Georgia Chapter head for the state of Georgia. He works all the time, and helps veterans no matter what their color is. He can be reached by phone at 404 668 6541, or by email at Alimayu@yahoo.com.
The web page for the local chapter is under construction and will be up and running soon according to Balewa.
The Georgia Chapter has helped more homeless veterans than any other organization that I have been in contact with in the state of Georgia.
The National Association for Black Veterans, Inc. will provide ongoing strategic advocacy on behalf of its membership with Congress, the Federal Administration, State Administrations and other agencies and organizations. NABVETS will provide personal advocacy on behalf of veterans seeking claims against the United States Department of Veterans Affairs; advocacy for youth in all matters required for successful passage into adulthood; advocacy on behalf of families; and advocacy in creating positive lifestyles for veterans. It will also promote community involvement, and generate and preserve the historical record.
To be a professional organization with a membership that includes 50% of the total black veteran population nationally; an organization with State Departments and Command Councils located in every state and city with a population greater than 250,000; an organization that has an emphasis on younger veterans who are on active duty or who are recently separated veterans; an organization that offers its members a wide array of benefits and services; an organization that provides services to all veterans, but especially low-income veterans; and an organization that is financially viable.
National Association for Black Veterans, Inc. is:
A nationally certified Veterans Service Organization and a United States Department of Veterans Affairs claims representative for the purpose of benefits and discharge upgrade services;
A membership organization with membership and chapters throughout the United States and Puerto Rico;
Working in unity with the community to end homelessness, empower low-income and minority veterans and working with disadvantaged youth;
Preserving the historical contributions of minority veterans, such as the Congressionally approved National Day of Honor (May 25th);
Advocating for amnesty for Vietnam era veterans;
Publishing Eclipse Magazine (established in 1974 as Eclipse Newspaper);
Calling attention to the needs of homeless and economically disadvantaged veterans;
Developing affordable permanent housing for all low-income veterans and non-veterans;
Rising to the challenge of addressing amnesty for Vietnam veterans and youth development in the community;
Providing incarcerated veteran services;
Providing post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), Agent Orange and behavioral health counseling through IVOCC Behavioral Health Clinic;
Operating Veterans United for Community Services (VUCS), a nationally acclaimed program of NABVETS that brings veterans, today’s ‘citizen soldiers,’ to the table in overcoming barriers facing America’s growing population of low-income and homeless veterans and the problems faced by youth. Since 1995, VUCS members have volunteered over 400,000 hours of community service, with at least 70% of these hours dedicated to working with youth.
Who We Are
This group has been very helpful in so many different ways that I will let it speak for itself.
Soldiers' Angels was started by a self-described ordinary mother of two American soldiers, Patti Patton-Bader. Her eldest son, Staff Sergeant Brandon, deployed to Iraq from 2003-2004, and her youngest was deployed in 2008.
In the summer of his 2003 deployment, Brandon expressed concern that some soldiers in his unit did not receive any mail or support from home. Being a loving and caring mother, Patti decided not to allow a situation like that to continue. She quickly contacted a handful of friends and extended family and asked if they would support a soldier or two. Within just a few months, Soldiers' Angels went from a mother sending a few extra care packages and letters, to an Internet community with thousands of Angels worldwide. With more and more merchants donating services, money and items for packages, Soldiers' Angels reorganized as a 501(c)(3) non-profit in 2004.
Soldiers' Angels currently supports tens of thousands of American military personnel stationed wherever we raise our nation's flag. In December 2004, an online forum was created to provide coordination for the thousands of Angels helping to meet the needs of our heroes. As of April 2008, our membership numbers more than 200,000 volunteers, led by an all-volunteer Board of Trustees and Officers. Today, Soldiers' Angels works around the world to address military-related needs ranging from deployed support to wounded care to remembrance of the fallen, and a wide variety of assistance for military families.
As a volunteer-based nonprofit, we have over 30 different teams supporting all branches of the U.S. Armed Forces. Through special projects, dedicated teams, and individuals supporting our troops, we make a visible difference in the lives of our service members and their families. To get involved, check out the list below or learn more here!
Invisible Wounds of War: Psychological and Cognitive Injuries, Their Consequences, and Services to Assist Recovery
In 2008, The Rand cooperation published Invisible Wounds of War: Psychological and Cognitive Injuries, Their Consequences, and Services to Assist Recovery. This comprehensive work is certainly the most complete work of its kind concerning PTSD, War, and soldiers and their situations on return from combat in Iraq and Afghanistan. Since it publication, I believe it has become the most quoted work of its kind. The Rand group won the following award in 2008 for this body of work: WINNER — 2008 PROSE Award — Clinical Medicine. The American Publishers Award for Professional and Scholarly Excellence
This report is an objective investigation into the many costs (i.e., emotional, financial, physical, etc) of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. It estimates "that PTSD and depression among returning service members will cost the nation as much as $6.2 billion in the two years following deployment."
The full text of the report can be found by clicking on the following link: Invisible Wounds of War (PDF). Adobe Acrobat Reader required to view the file
Due to the size of the report, it has been broken up into the following sections for ease of reading. All files are in PDF format, requiring Adobe Acrobat reader.
- Opening Pages
- Part I: Introduction, Current Policy, and Historical Perspective
- Part II: The Nature and Scope of the Problem
- Chapter Three: Prevalence of PTSD, Depression, and TBI Among Returning Service members
- Chapter Four: Survey of Individuals Previously Deployed for OEF/OIF
- Part III: Immediate and Long-Term Consequences of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, Depression, and Traumatic Brain Injury
- Chapter Five: Immediate and Long-Term Consequences of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, Depression, and Traumatic Brain Injury in Veterans of Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom
- Part IV: Economic Consequences
- Part V: Caring for the Invisible Wounds
- Part VI: Conclusions and Recommendations
I really like what these folks are doing and the fact that so many have used this service indicates to me that good is being done. I have been a volunteer on the web page for over a year and have not been contacted by the service or vets using the service. I still list them because I believe in the cause and it makes sense to have this service.
Our mission is to develop national networks of volunteers capable of responding to both acute and chronic conditions that arise within our society. Our first target population is the U.S. troops and families who are being affected by the current military conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq. Give an Hour™ is asking mental health professionals nationwide to donate an hour of their time each week to provide free mental health services to military personnel and their families. Research will guide the development of additional services needed by the military community, and appropriate networks will be created to respond to those needs. Individuals who receive services will be given the opportunity to give an hour back in their own community. We are also offering services to parents, siblings, and unmarried partners who are not entitled to receive mental health benefits through the military
Our organization is currently focusing on the psychological needs of military personnel and their families because of the significant human cost of the current conflicts. Over 1.8 million troops have been deployed in Afghanistan, Iraq, and the Persian Gulf since September 11, 2001. Nearly 550,000 of these troops have been deployed more than once. According to the U.S. Department of Defense, as of March 24, 2009, a total of 4,926 American troops have died in Iraq and Afghanistan. In addition, 33,856 U.S. troops have been injured during these conflicts.
In addition to the physical injuries sustained, countless servicemen and servicewomen have experienced psychological symptoms directly related to their deployment. According to a RAND report released in April 2008, over 18 percent of troops who have served in Iraq and Afghanistan--nearly 300,000 troops--have symptoms of post-traumatic stress or major depression.
A major barrier preventing military personnel from seeking appropriate treatment is the perception of stigma associated with treatment. Many fear that seeking mental health services will jeopardize their career or standing. Others are reluctant to expose their vulnerabilities to providers who are often military personnel themselves, given the military culture’s emphasis on strength, confidence, and bravery. Servicemen and servicewomen might be more inclined to seek help if they know that the services provided are completely independent of the military. By providing services that are separate from the military establishment, we offer an essential option for men and women who might otherwise fail to seek or receive appropriate services.
Web address: http://www.rand.org/pubs/monographs/MG720/
- Care For The Troops, Inc is a 501 c3 Non-Profit formed to develop a network of civilian faith communities, civic organizations, and networks of therapists all trained and able to work with the military members, veterans, and their families as they adjust to the changes experienced during and after returning from deployments and combat.
- Work to improve the ability of the civilian mental health infrastructure in the State of Georgia, then nationally, to work with military family members
- Facilitate connecting military families to providers of spiritual and psychological services familiar with the military culture and trauma
- Focus on addressing combat stress recovery as well as other spiritual and mental health related problems impacting the marriages and families of military veterans
- Educate and train clinicians, congregation and community leaders, extended family, and civilian groups about the military culture and trauma associated with military deployments in order to better assess and treat mental health symptoms, and provide more effective referrals and care
- Provide opportunities for additional trauma treatment training to clinicians
- Operate in an interfaith, non-political manner, focusing on the humanitarian interest that benefits the veterans and their extended family members
WHO is the site for? ... This site is for military members, their immediate and extended family members; whether there is a family member deployed, between deployments, recently returned, or separated. It is also for mental health professionals, congregation and community leaders, and others who are in positions to provide help, compassion, or advice to those who are recovering from the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan.
WHY visit this site? ... This site will help those who are both near and far from the existing DOD and VA facilities; who may be having difficulty getting the help needed in a timely manner. We are working to help better educate and train an additional civilian cadre of mental health professionals and community and congregation leaders on how better to understand the issues of those affected by the Iraq and Afghanistan conflict. The goal is to be able to provide the needed resources that can address the mental health issues when they arise and cause any further delay in receiving treatment.
Congregation leaders would include leaders of all faiths. Community Leader examples are school counselors, family practice doctors, members of social service organizations, police chiefs, fire chiefs, or other employers. It is without limits as it includes all civilians who come in contact with our brave veterans and their family members.
Our Goal for this web site? ... We want this website to be a resource you can rely upon and trust to help better understand the mental health issues of US military and their extended families resulting from the current conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan. By better understanding the issues, more will recognize the symptoms and triggers and this will result in a better quality and quantity of referrals to mental health professionals.
Web address: http://www.careforthetroops.com/
Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America
“This group is one of the best, well organized and helpful organizations I have encountered. It was started by and maintained by Veterans that served in Iraq and or Afghanistan, certainly one of a kind. “
Our Mission: IAVA’s mission is to improve the lives of Iraq and Afghanistan veterans and their families.
The Need: The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are in their sixth and seventh years respectively. More than 1.7 million American troops have served in Iraq or Afghanistan, and thousands have been deployed multiple times.
IAVA addresses critical issues facing new veterans and their families, including mental health, Traumatic Brain Injury, a stretched VA system, inadequate health coverage for national guardsmen and reservists, and outdated GI Bill educational benefits.
IAVA is dedicated to educating the public about the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, advocating on behalf of those who have served, and fostering a community for troops, veterans, and their families.
History: IAVA was founded in 2004 by current Executive Director Paul Rieckhoff and his fellow Iraq and Afghanistan veterans. After returning home from their tours, these veterans came together after quickly becoming concerned with the way the war in Iraq was being portrayed in the media and the overall plight of newly returned veterans. There were many policy experts, and talking heads on TV, but very few people who had actually served on the ground in Iraq or Afghanistan. There was no one talking about what our wounded friends needed, and the issues they faced. The creation of IAVA allowed thousands of veterans to join the national dialogue, and to explain what was really happening on the ground overseas and back home in the US.
Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA) is the country’s first and largest non-profit organization that works to improve the lives of OIF/OEF veterans and their families. We have over 125,000 veteran members and supporters are growing rapidly. IAVA members comprise the largest community of veterans of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan in the country.
Benefits of Membership
Join IAVA today, and become an IAVA Member Veteran. As always, membership with IAVA is free.
- Link up with other veterans
- Get information on local events
- Gain access to Community of Veterans, our vets-only online social network
We maintain the following resource directory for OIF and OEF vets. To gain access to even more resources and benefits, become an IAVA Member Veteran today.
- General Resources
- Mental Health
- Legal Assistance
- Financial Assistance
- Military Families
- Women's Issues
- Local Resources
- Iraqi Refugees
Web address: http://iava.org/content/iava-action-fundIAVA Mission and History
- The Veterans Administration is the U.S. Government’s department that is the direct care giver for our veterans that have served honorably during peace time as well as in time of war. Listed here is what they say about themselves. This department has been under fire for many reported abuses since its inception. It is our government, our department for helping veterans, and it is up to Americans to help this government agency perform at its best.
Their stated goal is to provide excellence in patient care, veterans' benefits and customer satisfaction. We have reformed our department internally and are striving for high quality, prompt and seamless service to veterans. Our department's employees continue to offer their dedication and commitment to help veterans get the services they have earned. Our nation's veterans deserve no less.
Our Nation's Veterans
Of the 25 million veterans currently alive, nearly three of every four served during a war or an official period of hostility. About a quarter of the nation's population -- approximately 70 million people -- are potentially eligible for VA benefits and services because they are veterans, family members or survivors of veterans.
VA Mission Statement
To fulfill President Lincoln’s promise – “To care for him who shall have borne the battle, and for his widow, and his orphan” – by serving and honoring the men and women who are America’s veterans.
To provide veterans the world-class benefits and services they have earned – and to do so by adhering to the highest standards of compassion, commitment, excellence, professionalism, integrity, accountability, and stewardship.
VA Core Values
Compassion – We will treat all veterans and their families with the utmost dignity and compassion. We will provide services in a caring manner, with a sympathetic consciousness of others’ distress together with a desire to alleviate it.
Commitment– Veterans have earned our gratitude and respect. Their health care, benefits, and memorial service needs to drive our actions
Excellence – We strive to exceed the expectations of veterans and their families. We strive to perform at the highest level of competence and take pride in our accomplishments.
Professionalism– Our success depends on maintaining a highly-skilled, diverse, and compassionate workforce. We foster a culture that values equal opportunity, innovation, and accountability.
Integrity– We recognize the importance of accurate information. We practice open, truthful, and timely communication with veterans, employees, and external stakeholders. By carefully listening and responding to their concerns, we seek continuous improvement in our programs and services.
Accountability– We will perform in a manner at all times that makes us accountable, responsible, and answerable to veterans and their families, our leaders and other employees as well as external stakeholders.
Stewardship– We will ensure responsible stewardship of the human, financial, and natural resources as well as data and information entrusted to us. We will improve performance through the use of innovative technologies, evidence-based medical practices, and sound business principles.
Strategic and Enabling Goals
Goal 1 – Restore the capability of veterans with disabilities to the greatest extent possible, and improve the quality of their lives and that of their families.
Goal 2 – Ensure a smooth transition for veterans from active military service to civilian life.
Goal 3 – Honor and serve veterans in life, and memorialize them in death for their sacrifices on behalf of the Nation.
Goal 4 – Contribute to the public health, emergency management, socioeconomic well‑being, and history of the Nation.
Enabling Goal – Deliver world-class service to veterans and their families through effective communication and management of people, technology, business processes, and financial resources.
Web address : http://www.va.gov/