Making campus more military friendly is a current goal of UCA’s veterans department. UCA’s veterans department will be looking to take extra measures to make the campus more military friendly, according to student Susan Marcus and UCA Veterans Service Coordinator David Williams.
Student-Veterans of America is a non-profit organization focusing on the needs of veterans pursuing higher education through scholarships, leadership opportunities and various services.
“We are trying to bring in a group to do readjustment counseling for veterans who are returning from Iraq,” Marcus said. “We also want to get funding to send students to meetings like these, because they are not always in state. We don’t have any funding right now, so we can’t send any of our students to these leadership trainings and job workshops.”
David Williams said UCA’s military history needs to be represented on campus.
“Before World War II, the school’s population was mainly military,” Williams said. “Veteran’s hall used to be a military place where all the guys stayed at. We had a large military presence here on campus. But now as you walk around you really see nothing.”
Williams said campus needs a resource for veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder.
“We need a point of contact that our veterans can go to,” he said. “We need someone here on campus that is able to help them get transitioned back into civilian mode and can be able to answer their questions.”
According to ptsdusa.org, one-in-three returning troops suffer from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)—a psychiatric disorder caused by a traumatic event that can cause flashbacks, nightmares and severe anxiety, along with several other crippling symptoms.
“They come in here, I can tell them my story on how I deal with PTSD, and sometimes that helps,” Williams said.
He said directing individuals to the counseling center is not always effective because the staff is not trained specifically in military help.
“A lot of us, we would rather just be able to go to someone to talk to. Rather than try to fix us, just hear what we have to say, But a lot of us don’t feel comfortable doing that, because most people won’t understand what we had to do,” he said “People question, ‘Why’d you do that? Why’d you kill them? Why? Why? Why?’ Well, we can’t answer why. We did our job. And some of us are having trouble with what we did. So now you’re second guessing yourself, coming back here you’re going to be afraid, if I get put in a dangerous situation, am I going to revert and just kill someone and have no empathy or remorse? Because that’s basically what you have to have when you go to war.”
Standard counseling methods are not effective enough for veterans suffering from PTSD, Williams said.
“We need somebody here to talk to veterans having those episodes rather than waiting 30 days to go see someone that will just end up putting them on medicine,” he said.
This article originally appeared in the Jan. 20, 2016 print edition of The Echo.
image via usmilitary.about.com