With the New Year, a somewhat new administration in Washington, and a brand new tax bill just passed; the upcoming year has a lot in store for US citizens, and especially Veterans. Pressure continues to build on the Veterans Administration to improve their medical experience, the movement on reducing high suicide rates among Veterans is growing by the day, and the “hire-a-vet” efforts are gaining momentum.
With so much focus on our nation’s heroes, the trending for Veterans in 2018 has a positive outlook. Here are four of those trends to follow:
1. Fun Without Drugs: the Emergence of Experiential Therapies
Unfortunately, injured Veterans have been some of the most hard hit victims of the opioid crisis. Treating PTSD, TBI, and other mental ailments with opioids and other prescription drugs is all too common. However, a growing number of groups are promoting alternative methods to treat Veterans’ mental health, such as HBOT (Hyperbaric Oxygen treatment) and numerous Experiential Therapies: treatments that get Veterans involved in new activities. For example, equine therapy (working with horses) and other activities from fishing to cooking classes to yoga are showing very positive results (anecdotally) in reducing PTSD and TBI. In 2018, look for more emphasis on alternative therapies and less on prescription drugs.
2. Keeping Your Records Safe: Easier Ways to Store Important Documents
Whatever happened to the paperless society? Everything was supposed to be digital by now. Maybe that time has finally come. A few companies (including the VA) have begun to offer medical and military record storage of vital documents that can be easily accessed and stored online. Why is this important? Because you can access your records anytime anywhere, like when you’re at your doctor’s appointment. You won’t need to carry your binder with 2,000 pages of medical and military records everywhere you go. That’s nice.
3. More Jobs: Hiring Veterans Just Got A Lot Easier
More than 200,000 men and women transition out of the armed services every year. After dedicating their lives to serving their country, these Veterans face an unfamiliar and often daunting civilian world.
A growing number of employers are taking advantage of tax credits and job training cost reimbursements that make hiring Veterans a prudent choice. For example, Veterans Florida, a state-funded organization will reimburse companies up to $8,000 in training costs when they hire a Veteran. Other states have similar programs.
Interesting, the retail space is also becoming veteran-friendly. Studies show that people who served in the military are equipped with skills that transfer readily to the fast pace of the retail environment. The National Retail Foundation has a program that guides retailers into hiring Veterans and companies like Walmart and Starbucks are opening Veteran-Friendly.
4. Apps, Apps, Apps: The Use of Technology to Help Veterans
If you search “apps for Veterans,” you’ll discover a cornucopia of apps from the Veteran’s Administration that will do everything from finding a VA pharmacist to managing symptoms of concussions. Other companies offer Veteran-oriented apps with such features as social media for Veterans and numerous self-help solutions. One new app, VetCV, launched in early 2018, covers all the bases for active duty, Veterans and their families.
At the core of this app is a “vault” in which people can store their important documents (medical records, service records, etc.). The app also boasts an extensive job offering from around the country and is planning on using Artificial Intelligence to match Veterans with their dream job. It’s also offering a robust health and wellness section and will add a social media aspect for Veterans to opt-in and find other Veterans in the same geographic area or with similar interests. According to the developer, the app is also focused on helping to reduce suicide by using AI to track people at risk.
The coming year should be a good one for Veterans with more and more advantages coming online.