As U.S. military veterans experience devastating impacts from coronavirus, preeminent veteran affairs authority to host a global Virtual Town Hall forum on June 3 addressing the unique issues of today’s veterans;
Live online event to feature Congressional leaders, heads of marquee veteran’s organizations, leading military figures and other expert panelists to address current and emerging COVID-19 impacts and challenges, misconceptions and problem/solution resolutions specific to the veteran community
As the world battles COVID-19, military veterans across the United States and beyond are disproportionately suffering devastating impacts from this pandemic. Not only are they dying from the coronavirus at a higher rate, but even those thwarting the viral infection are otherwise bearing a heavy emotional and economic burden amid social distancing. This as companies—both small and large—are relegated to furloughing and laying off employees … or shutting down altogether.
For some perspective on the breadth of this problem, a recently released report by the Bob Woodruff Foundation reveals that more than 500,000 veterans live in the 15 cities that are most likely to be affected by pandemic-driven difficulties. As worrisome, the report also emphasized that COVID-19 is creating a “perfect storm” of emergent trauma and loneliness due to social isolation and unplanned wage or job loss that could threaten the mental health of many veterans—a group of men and women who have selflessly served and protected our great nation.
Validating these concerns, the sobering statistics continue to stack up on all fronts. In fact, a recent Bureau of Labor Statistics report cites that veteran unemployment is up to nearly 12 percent, with more than 1,000,000 veterans reporting being jobless this past April, alone. There is also escalating discourse regarding COVID-19-driven PTSD and other mental health issues within this community, underscoring that it is exacerbating anxiety and suicidal ideation among a litany of other specialized impacts that veterans are uniquely experiencing. This includes, but is not limited to, a higher risk of contracting the virus due to age and “toxic exposure” (and greater mortality vulnerabilities in relation), reduced access and barriers to healthcare and suitable treatment options, housing crises and funding problems for community-based veteran organizations serving as critical front-line touchpoints.
As part of an on-going commitment to support America’s veterans, retired Army Lieutenant Colonel and Veterans Law Attorney John Berry, Jr., CEO of Berry Law Firm, will host a comprehensive “Coronavirus and Veterans” virtual forum designed to tackle current challenges and address misconceptions. This virtual town hall discussion and education forum will include a cross-section of leading individuals who serve the veteran community as well as other panelists to who will shed light on the impact the virus is having on veterans, specifically, across an array of categories. This includes efforts already underway in addition to what we as a society can do moving forward to uphold this group of individuals who have already sacrificed so much for the greater good.
Participants of the virtual forum will include Arizona Congressman Paul Gosar; Assal Ravandi, CEO of The Academy of United States Veterans the Chair of The VETTYS.