There & Back Again is a nonprofit organization privately funded by concerned Americans whose contributions support the well-being of service-members. Our mission is to provide reintegration support services to veterans of Iraq/Afghanistan.
"Lengthy and repeated deployments with insufficient recovery time have placed incredible stress on our soldiers and our families, testing the resolve of our all volunteer force like never before."
U.S. Army Vice-Chief of Staff
Since 2001, over 1.6 million of our troops, active and reserve, have deployed to Iraq/ Afghanistan. Over a third of these troops have served in these combat zones for more than one tour. During deployments, almost 95% of our soldiers experienced small arms fire, over 85% saw their comrade get seriously injured or killed. Almost 80% of our troops killed civilian(s) and/or enemy(ies). Many of these soldiers have been prevented from leaving the military after fulfilling their contracts. Our veterans’ service has a lasting imprint on their minds, bodies, families and friends. http://rand.org/pubs/research_briefs/2008/RAND_RB9336.pdf
Veterans are returning home physically and emotionally injured. The military reports approximately 40,000 military personnel have been diagnosed with PTSD since 2003. This number does not account for those soldiers who choose not to disclose their medical condition to the military based on the stigma the military attaches to mental health issues. The Army alone reported more than 10,000 new cases last year. This number is up from 6,800 in 2006 totally 28,000 cases since 2003. According to the Rand Corporate Study, 300,000 military personnel suffer from major depression or PTSD from their service in Iraq/Afghanistan. Approximately 320,000 military personnel received brain injuries.
Suicide rates have reached the highest number since 1990 when the service was 20% larger than today. Soldiers survive their war time service only to return home suffering its effects without necessary tools for healing.
Troops return home facing enormous challenges transitioning into life at home. This is not an easy process. Their experience in Iraq/Afghanistan is incomprehensible to those without military service. For Reserve soldiers, who are dispersed across regions of the US, returning home further disconnects them from those who shared a similar experience putting another obstacle in their ability to relate.
Symptoms of problems in this re-adjustment process can take a variety of forms
- Anger, anxiety, chronic pain, compulsion, confusion, crisis,
- Delusions, denial, dependence, depression, flashbacks, grief, guilt,
- Loneliness, low self-esteem, obesity, obsessions, passive-aggressive behavior,
- Phobia, sleep disorders/ nightmares, substance abuse, suicidal behavior,
- Paranoia, Physiological stress response to reminders of an event (pounding heart, rapid breathing, nausea, muscle tension, sweating),
- Withdrawn behavior and many more.
These symptoms do not only affect the psychological well-being of our veterans but will often impact the person’s physical, financial, and social life. Our veterans’ family and friends also feel the affects of combat and might suffer from secondary trauma as a result.
These issues, if left unattended, will and are already posing a debilitating problem not only to the people directly affected but to the next generations and to our society. There & Back Again helps soldiers navigate their life after war. We offer strategic tools and support to guide veterans to heal and find a new path to live life after a war experience.