Veterans give helping hand to fellow vets struggling to adjust to civilian life

Veterans describe their work in helping service members transition into civilian life and detail the unique challenges military members face after leaving the service.
7:41 | 11/11/19

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Transcript for Veterans give helping hand to fellow vets struggling to adjust to civilian life
Today we celebrate veterans day because we appreciate their service in protecting our country if you didn't know nearly 200000 military members' transition. Back to civilian life every single year but this transition can be differ called in 2017. Over 6100 vets took their lives the highest rate of suicide was vets between the ages of eighteen to 34 years old and while unemployment for bats is that in nearly twenty year low. Many still need a helping hand on their post military journeys on joined today by Jerry pop love a former marine who is executive director of veterans rebuilding life. A nonprofit of combat veterans helping fellow combat veterans and the frank Rivera and air force vet who heads up the department of military and veteran affairs. At the New York Institute of Technology so guys I'm so happy you're here to day we really really appreciated. You guys both found that resource is we're lacking when you returned home in francs specifically for you wade had to deal with college resources. It's meant so how are you dealing with that now. On the way that we just sit back and you can see technologies and really trying to. Welcome them here and includes and is everything that we're doing exciting institutional level where. Becoming more military inclusive having them more involved with. Special events on empowering the students and Stephen veterans of America's or organization that he had there. Giving them an opportunity kind of create their own narrative has really been beneficial to them on and I think it rewards stand for the extremes that they've had previously. Yeah it's it's amazing work and jury for you. You notice this disturbing trend on veterans being heavily medicated and to deal with the trauma left from combat so. How did you decide you're gonna do something about this and what exactly are you doing. That's correct the the issue is that more than twenty veterans of de commit suicide and the only solution is being provided by the department of veterans affairs and other government institutions. Are heavy doses of prescription pills the very pills that these vets often used to commit suicide. I myself was more Marines. In in when they return from their combat tours of duty. To suicide in the war itself out and 2014 I believe he nationwide. That had taken place there were more suicides of veterans. From Iraq and Afghanistan and there were casualties of war. And this is the longest one American history so that's not acceptable. It's unbelievable. There's something that your organization deals with its caught combat gilts. That you know the veterans have when they return but he organization helps them overcome that in a special ways I want you to tell us about that obsolete so we we have a kind of saying in our organization that when. A veteran helps the child the child Help's of that a soldier's saves a child the child saves of that. We we we have a program called project 360 it's a holistic integration program for exclusively for vents designed by vets. And it will provide veterans humanitarian missions where they can actually assist children in the very countries that they fought him. Very often the key source of extreme key TSD. Comes from combat related guilt. This is collateral damage your child gets caught in the crossfire. Accidents happen in war. And isn't in the can do about it now. So they they have to live with this memory in its immunity generally don't want to talk about because of feelings of shame or guilt while which ends of becoming a self destructive cycle for the event. So long we pair them with these humanitarian missions we work with a number of Doctors Without Borders and so forth. They are able to save a child in this very country and we tell them like you couldn't do anything about it then when you were engaged in war you were young you you had to do your job. Bad things happen in war. But you can do something about this now you can save this child now and it's and is transmitted in the something positive correct and it's from the same place the same regions often you vets will return to the these scenes of battle feels that they had served in. Years prior. And we've seen a 96% success rate with that. The events that often successfully complete these humanitarian missions become. Volunteers and our organization. It becomes staff members they help the next that's come through the door. Yeah its been a very successful program we're happy to do it. It's amazing. Why do you guys frank why do you think it's hard to four. Veterans to transition back to civilian life what is it that normal civilians take for granted that we don't know bets are experiencing. I think as a support system. When we look at it the data shows that 80% veterans don't go to school where they're from. I'm so that lack of that family. Ability to destruct your kids off with you your parents are on the is that traditional support structure of the you don't necessarily have. And then there's the whole other kind of feeling of not relating to other people. When you have a completely different life experience at 25 it's difficult to relate back to those folks that are twenty to eighteen. On and just feel like you like you're supposed to be there from classroom discussions and come from a different point of view you take a different perspective it's a difficult thing armed. Also dealing with those kind of moral injuries that that would that we were talking about earlier. If if you're still suffering on the inside it's hard for you to kind of open up and relate and communicate those feelings. Especially feel like that that outsider. So we do our best seconds really make them feel inclusive at that mucus to technology but. On a grander scale I think that it needs to become more important. For other organizations to really address that specific issue how can I make. These veterans field better yet how connect ease that transition. And what kind of support can I give then that will really help them achieve their individual success. Again if people don't know about these organizations a lot of times of that's only have their families their loved ones so. What can families do to help support the vets when they return home if that's all the bad hats. That's the only people that are in their life it's a true. We are what can they do we don't. I'm from have a mediation services that provide safe space for the families including children in the spouses. Two come together with the veteran and discuss how they felt. When the veteran when waits war and returned a changed person. Because it affects the entire family when one that coast war. This dressers often did the this will just lead to isolation. Often veterans are looking for that sense of purpose that they had when they were in the military what they did matter out there. So when they come back and they're unemployed they don't have that the ability to sustain their families anymore they lose that sense of purpose. And he can start a self destructive cycle that can end in suicide. Yes the way that I address it and added institutional level that we try to address is getting them more involved into the events that we that we plan. We recently screened almost sunrise which is a movie that covers the moral ambiguities of war with the panel discussion after calm and really well if students are. Aware to some degree of moral injury and affects that he can cause. Having their spouses their dependence on and just judicial civilians kinda really. Participate in that event. It brings to light. Some of those issues and makes them more prepared to address them so attic institutional level whenever we're doing anything. On we really want to include the spouses include those kids arm and independents because. They were a part of that fight they did sacrificed a lot for that service member to be able to do their job and very competent manner. Yes you guys are amazing I just wanna thank you for the work you're doing thank you for your service to the country it's incredible Andre help cloth and frank Riviera. Thank you very much appreciate it so much is there Rivera Riviera Rivera Rivera I want to make sure SA correct I appreciate and thank you so much think he's even being here.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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