IAVA survey highlights their members concerns

gettyimages 451982672 IAVA survey highlights their members concerns

U.S. Rep. Tammy Duckworth speaks to discuss the Clay Hunt Suicide Prevention for American Veterans Act. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)

By Caitlin M. Kenney

Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America released their 2017 Member Survey Thursday, that asked their organization’s membership for a variety of information including mental health, civic engagement, and perceptions of support from the government and the public.

This survey was not a random sample but was sent to all IAVA members, with a Southwest Airlines voucher drawing as an incentive to complete it. According to the survey’s website, over 4,000 members participated.

Here are some highlights:

Participant demographics

As a foundation to understanding who participated, the survey said that most who submitted were white males. Most participants had some form of higher education, 54 percent are employed full time, and 6.4 percent were unemployed and looking for work. Eighty-one percent were enlisted and a majority (58 percent) served in the Army.

Political Engagement

It was no surprise that veterans, after serving their country in uniform, stay civically engaged. Of the participants, 96 percent were registered voters and 41 percent have considered running for public office.

The survey listed “Top 5 issues influencing for political candidates,” to include 1) Veteran issues, 2) Economy, 3) Health Care, 4) Homeland Security/Terrorism, and 5) Military/ Defense Issues.

Women in the military

Of the survey’s participants, 13 percent identified as female. When members were asked about supporting the opening of all military occupational specialties to women, 75 percent of women agreed, 15 disagreed and 10 percent had no opinion. Fifty percent of men agreed, 39 percent disagreed and 11 percent had no opinion.

When asked if “Women’s advancement in the military has been limited by restrictions on women in combat,” 62 percent of women agreed and 30 percent disagreed. Of men, 33 percent agreed whereas 56 percent disagreed.

Mental Health and Suicide

Sixteen percent of participants believe veterans and troops are getting the care they need for mental health injuries, according to the survey. When asked if they are seeking care for their mental health injury, 73 percent said yes.

Suicide is a big concern in the veteran community. Of the survey’s participants, 65 percent said this year they knew a post 9/11 veteran who has attempted suicide, and 58 percent this year knew a post 9/11 veteran who had died of suicide.

Transition experiences

The top three transition challenges that participants cited are 1) health concerns, 2) finding/keeping employment, and 3) loss of identity/purpose. When asked if they experienced challenges when transitioning, 32 percent said “many” and 42 percent said “some.” Also, 66 percent said they did not have a job before they transitioned out of the military.

You can explore the IAVA 2017 Member Survey in its entirety here.

Connect: @CaitlinMKenney | Caitlin@ConnectingVets.com

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