Editor’s Note: SOFREP invites our readers to submit editorials for publication. Today, we bring you this essay by Dominique L. Plewes who is the founder and Chairperson of the Special Operations Forces (SOF) Foundation regarding veterans and their physical and emotional health. We share her concern that as the Global War on Terror moves into the shadow of a mostly clandestine conflict without large deployed units overseas, America’s commitment to caring for its servicemembers and veterans may wane.

 

Last week on Veterans Day, Americans had an opportunity to reflect on the end of the war in Afghanistan and show their appreciation for the sacrifice of the men and women who fought the nation’s battles. Veterans and servicemembers, along with their families, grapple with a variety of emotions and unseen trauma. While some of these traumas are being discoursed, one threat to servicemembers receives far less attention: the use of dangerous, experimental treatments for mental illnesses.

Veterans and the general public have recently been more outspoken on mental health topics, possibly due to the rise in alarming trends within the military and veteran community or because of shortfalls in the Department of Defense’s (DoD) and Veterans Affairs (VA) responses to these wounds becoming more apparent. This is especially true for active duty and veterans of special operations units. They have borne a significant burden over the last 20 years of war. Because of their mental scars and the lack of institutional support, some have turned in desperation to unproven, experimental treatment methods that have only compounded their problems.