How YouTube helps war veterans cope

With Make the Connection, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs has created an outlet for soldiers to communicate and address their ongoing struggles. 


Jordan Valinsky


Published Mar 2, 2012   Updated Jun 2, 2021, 8:36 pm CDT

War is hell, as William Tecumseh Sherman first observed. And for many veterans, the emotional distress doesn’t end on the battlefield, either. Many return home rattled with psychological ailments but have trouble finding ways to address them.

The Department of Veterans Affairs has launched a YouTube channel to help soldiers cope.

Called Make the Connection, the collection of videos show veterans talking about their war experiences and encourage other veterans to speak up if they’re having problems. As part of a broader digital outreach effort by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, the channel launched in October 2011 and now offers more than 170 videos.

The most watched video, with 600,000 views, is a minute-long clip set to soft music of various military members discussing how they got help from their local Veterans Affair medical center.

But not all of the channel’s movies resemble a melancholic movie trailer.

Other videos showcase vets giving advice on how to transition back into “normal” life, deal with losing the “brotherhood” many vets grow accustom to, and address sexual harassment. These videos only have a few hundred views.

It’s interesting that the government-controlled project didn’t shy away from posting taboo subject, like sexual harassment, and it has a good mix of vets of both sexes and all ages discussing their ordeals.

If just one video helps a vet to cope, the project has done its job.

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*First Published: Mar 2, 2012, 3:10 pm CST