(The U.S. Army)

The transition from a soldier in combat to a veteran at home is a difficult one, and the founders of VeteranCentral hope their website will not only connect veterans from across the country, but also help them find job opportunities and combat post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

Along with the mental and emotional difficulties faced once returning to America, veterans from recent wars are more likely to be jobless than the general population. But founder Paul McDonald told The Washington Post in an interview that after researching post-traumatic stress and traumatic brain injuries (TBI), veterans needed help in other areas, which meant a building website that features “social reintegration for veterans who are re-entering civilian society, a centralized portal for mental-health resources” in addition to a jobs board.

Reports The Post:

“Beyond job listings, the site also features resources to guide veterans on the path to collecting benefits and managing other transitional issues. Podcasts, videos and articles by veteran contributors aim to direct returning soldiers to free resources they can tap. (Under the program ‘Give An Hour,’ for example, psychologists donate free mental health services for veterans and their families.)”

Because users are able to create profiles and an online chat feature allows visitors to ask resume, health and other questions, VeteranCentral users say the site has the potential to become “a Facebook for the veteran community.”

“Instead of fighting from the inside, we’re trying to create a user-generated community,” McDonald said. “The top-down government solution rarely works. My way will take longer, but if we get a good groundswell, it will be more impactful at a tangible level.”

Read the rest of the article

In light of the murderous March 11 shooting spree in Afghanistan allegedly by an American soldier suffering from PTSD as well as TBI, researchers are questioning the link between suffering from these disorders and instances of violent behavior.

While having a TBI or PTSD can increase a person’s anger and diminish his or her self-control and lead to headaches and “muddled thinking,” it is difficult for experts to say for certain whether or not there is a link between these disorders and outright violent behavior.

“We’ve asked [experts], ‘How do we predict violence in a soldier?’ and they haven’t been able to provide us with a good screen,” said Col. Rebecca I. Porter, a psychologist who heads the behavioral health division of the Army surgeon general’s office, to The Post in an interview. “The best predictor of future behavior is past behavior.”

Read the rest of the article

Heather Rudow is a staff writer for Counseling Today. Email her at hrudow@counseling.org.

Follow Counseling Today on Twitter.