Today was my last class of my second quarter of grad school, which means I’m pretty much halfway through my time as an apprentice journalist, as I’m thinking of it. At this very moment I’m just trying to catch up on my sleep debt, which is more profound than I realized. But for those who found interest in the work I’ve been doing this term, here are the back four stories that I filed, rounding out my 11 required.
- Military suicide epidemic compels survivor families to speak out (June 6, 2013)
Of the military families the Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors looks after, as many have lost a veteran family member to suicide as to combat. Andy and Julianne Weiss of Naperville are of that number: their son, U.S. Army 1st Lt. Danny Weiss, took his own life in March 2012. The Weiss family is determined to confront the issues of mental health and suicide risk among veterans, especially given that, according to government statistics, 22 veterans commit suicide every day.
- Warrior artists explore art therapy for veterans (June 5, 2013)
Veterans and art therapists are working together to formulate new counseling programs using creative arts therapies outside of the VA system. The School of the Art Institute of Chicago and the Albany Park Community Center have just completed the pilot year of their VetCAT program, using a variety of approaches to bring veterans healing.
- Veterans without VA health care eligible for Medicaid through Obamacare (June 5, 2013)
Thousands of uninsured Illinois veterans could start receiving health coverage when the Affordable Care Act provisions expanding Medicaid eligibility kick in on Jan. 1, according to a study released in March. Many factors could be keeping these veterans from using VA health care benefits, including, in some instances, a choice to avoid the VA entirely.
- Healing through art for veterans at Portage Park museum (May 28, 2013)
A new exhibit at the National Veterans Art Museum shares and explores the work of veterans who are artists, and why art has been valuable to them.
I have a letter to the Chicago veteran community that I would like to write, but the short version of it is that it has been such a privilege and such a pleasure reporting on such an extraordinary group of people, all of whom are doing such important and amazing work. I thank everyone I’ve spoken with for entrusting me with their stories.