Most of our nation’s servicemembers make a successful transition back to civilian life, but it is not always easy. The VA’s records indicate that an average of 17 veterans die by suicide each day. An estimated 20 percent of our troops have come home with post-traumatic stress and too many veterans struggle with traumatic brain injuries, depression, and substance dependency.
When individuals face legal challenges, such as eviction or an improper denial of federal benefits, it aggravates mental health issues and increases the risk of becoming homeless or dying by suicide. The Veteran Advocacy Project (“VAP”) provides legal representation and cuts through bureaucratic red tape for veteran clients, so that they spend time in their doctor’s office instead of a courthouse.
VAP has three program areas:
- Our criminal defense work provides mitigation expertise on capital cases around the country.
- Our civil legal practice ensures housing and income stability through homelessness prevention with social services agencies and medical-legal partnerships with Vet Centers and community health clinics.
- VAP’s veterans law practice focuses on VA Character of Discharge determinations, disability claims related to mental health, and Department of Defense discharge upgrade applications for veterans with less-than-honorable discharges.
From housing court to death row, the common thread throughout VAP’s advocacy is that we fight for individuals who are living with mental health conditions. Our services provide access to health care and benefits, prevent incarceration and further justice involvement, keep veterans and their families in their homes, and empower veterans by removing barriers to success.