The Return Boot Camp
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The military has a specific process that turns a new recruit into a Warrior, but they lack a similar process to help transform that Warrior back to civilian life. This leaves so many men and women without purpose or a place to turn after the military.
This, we believe, often has a part to play in suicidal thoughts and actions, and contributes significantly to the 20 Veterans who die by suicide every day.
The community of non-profit organizations in conjunction with our partners are advocating for a Return Boot Camp program to help transitioning Service Members be better prepared for post-military life.
Specifically, this program would:
(1) Ensure every Service Member receives a safe, confidential behavioral health evaluation, including an interview with a licensed, clinical behavioral health provider at the beginning of the transition process.
(2) Require (based on the outcome of #1 above) Service Members participate in individual and group treatment / therapy sessions and programs for physical wellness and mindfulness.
(3) Require all Service Members attend an initiation program for the transition process to educate and prepare them for their new life beyond the military.
(4) Provide professional career counseling services and programs of the same scope and quality as services offered at the best universities.
(5) Ensure Service Members get "credit" for and receive the necessary civilian accreditation for technical and management skills learned through the military. Whatever skills they were trained for can transfer over and be "worth" something in civilian life.
(6) Provide a mentor that connects with Service Members at the beginning of the transition process to provide transition support and life coaching for up to one year after they have departed the military.
(7) Ensure continuity in programs, services, and documentation between the Department of Defense and the Department of Veteran Affairs – including electronic transfer of records and medical history.
(8) Form a commission of non-profit, corporate, and government agencies to implement a pilot Return Boot Camp program as early as September 2018.
The Return Boot Camp focuses on the process of transition with the intended objective of enabling Service Members discover the post-military quality of life they fought to protect. They should be able to come home as prepared for life as they were trained to be prepared for military service.
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