Handling of Homeless Veterans with Mental Health Problems through Policy

Handling of Homeless Veterans with Mental Health Problems through Policy

People who have spent a lot of time seeing extreme acts tend to suffer mentally as the actions replay themselves in their mind. Veterans tend to be the most affected given the long stints fighting, watching their colleagues die, and also, seeing the bodies of the people they fought. Thus, they tend to portray discomfiture in their environment and could be restless, sleepless, or in some cases, fail to integrate into the society entirely (McInnes, et al., 2014). The policy makers have over time toyed with the idea of developing systems to cater to the needs of the veterans. However, one group remains less favored, which is composed of veterans who would be hard to reintegrate given that they suffer from mental illnesses of multiple extents of cases of post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. Failure to look into the issues of veterans in most cases lead to most failing to integrate into the society as they leave the service, suffer Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, while some of them end homeless (Crites, 2013). The communication involved a visit to the town council to discuss ways in which homeless veterans with mental illnesses would be cared for within the city, and techniques that can be used to reintegrate them into the society without making them feel like they are obtaining favors, or any other demeaning manner.

Policy Issue

There is a large number of homeless veterans in Phoenix Arizona. The state has over 1300 veterans that are homeless, and many keep adding to the number given that still, there are those in service, and at a time, they are expected to leave service and may fail to integrate into the society, leading to failure in getting the basic needs. Homes are expensive, and for people that fail to blend into the community, it is almost sure that veterans who fail to integrate end up homeless. Homelessness amongst veterans leads to substance abuse. Notably, unlike the rest of the homeless individuals in the city, this group of people in most cases feels neglected and unappreciated. Many think that it would have been better if they never served given the lives that they lived before they joined the military (Crites, 2013). The neglect emanates from knowing that they were serving their nation, and the moment they get back, many often, if not always find themselves on their own. The feeling of neglect goes a long way into making them abuse drugs, and not want to be a part of the mainstream society (Tsai & Rosenheck, 2015). Still, some do not accept the help that comes from the state, given the bureaucracy that it involves. Still, a large number of them remain unreached. The drugs used do not help the situation, which is the reason that mental cases increase, as PTSD becomes even further pronounced.

There are existent care programs, but they do not cover the breadth needed to satisfy the needs of the veterans. Notably, many go to the extent of seeking to counter the substance abuse problems together with homelessness. However,  to mitigate the existent problem, there should be programs that attempt to first, get the people into the society before one can go ahead to solve their homelessness problem (Crites, 2013; Tsai & Rosenheck, 2015). Notably, houses in Phoenix are quite expensive, and it can only take local policymakers to look into the issues facing the veterans. Such policy could look into involving the local community in the reintegration of the veterans, and by making sure that the health facilities are involved in managing the mental issues affecting the veterans, and also, treatment and management of their substance abuse problems.


The presentation

The communication involved a one-on-one visit whereby the policy maker (District six council member) had spared thirty minutes for the presentation. Notably, given that the presentation was short, the time span offered enough time to talk about the city, in general, to create a rapport before the presentation. This made it easy to go through the points. The policy maker was quite responsive and pointed to the existing programs within the city. However, he also noted that the city had failed in rehabilitating the mentally sick veterans, given the focus was the homeless veterans in general without a specification. In a way, what came out was that the move was non-specific, and the City could do better by specifying the cases that they handled by categorizing the patients based on vulnerability, and the extremity of their health problems. Finally, the legislator offered to continue the conversation and took personal information necessary to keep in touch. Such is worthy given the need to keep track of the progress of the policy issue.

By having a successful visit and after that presentation, it is possible to address the problem at hand. This can be because the legislator gets to interact with a person that has a professional understanding of the issue at hand. Also, it is possible to establish a rapport, necessary for future deliberations. The conversational mood created ushers a time of understanding that could be profitable in future whereby the legislator could seek professional help, and as such, the nursing fraternity could end up having a hand in future policy deliberations (Cairney, & Kwiatkowski, 2017; Creech,  et al., 2015). Given the communication, almost everything worked and nothing much needed to be done given that the council member was less defensive and willing to communicate. In a way, when it comes to policy making, there could be those that are willing to push specific ideas but lack the impetus due to the failure of people to come out and present the ideas to them, in a relatable manner.