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Veterans need to understand that problems aren't their fault. Depression and PTSD aren't signs of weakness. Asking for help is OK. And learning that is part of the peer support classes, he said.

He saw a therapist, but credits peer support classes with making the biggest difference. Now he works as a peer support specialist and transitional work supervisor with the Cheyenne VA.

Enrolling in benefits, or not enrolling, is the first choice veterans can make as civilians. Some don't want the government in their lives anymore. Others just want to go home. Many, like Najera, don't know they need to enroll in VA programs to receive the benefits to which they are entitled.

The week before Halloween, Adrian Najera had a flashback. He opened the doors of Liesinger Hall, but instead of finding himself on the Casper College campus, he was back in Kunar Province.

It pains Daniel Blackman to think of all the veterans who are suffering and not receiving help. But he understands why many don't sign up.

Jackie Van Mark, a public affairs specialist for the Sheridan VA.

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"You get out and you come from a very, very strict culture. And they just take off the chains and are like, peace," Najera said.

Najera said he was always told he was covered by the Army's health insurance, Tricare. He assumed that if he ever needed medical care, he could go to the hospital, identify himself as a veteran and receive treatment. No one ever mentioned that he needed to enroll first. He's in the process of doing so now.

Air Force Suede Black

Air Force Suede Black

the past 12 years, the figures are still startling. Exactly a year has passed since the day Najera searched the rubble. He is a student now, sitting in a room at the Gateway Center on the Casper College campus. He is wearing jeans, a Brooklyn Nets hat its visor uncreased and a black dress shirt rolled up to his elbows. A tattoo that says "Wyoming" in large black letters is visible on his forearm. Beneath it is the image of Steamboat, the great rodeo bucking horse and symbol of Air Force Suede Black the state.

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Najera is 23, a self described country boy from Rawlins whose grandparents immigrated from Mexico.

"You're just like, 'What do I do with myself?'"

"They're young," said Jodi Smith, case manager for the Cheyenne VA Medical Center. "We have to wait until they are ready or something happens and they need us."

Experts blame a range of possibilities for low enrollment, including a social stigma associated with seeking help or the general feeling that help is not needed. But the stakes of solving the enrollment quandary are high. Department of Veteran Affairs report found that nearly 300,000 Afghan and Iraqi war veterans had been diagnosed with post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), or about a third of the soldiers who fought in those conflicts. And while the number of veteran suicides has remained constant during Nike Air Force With Jeans

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Wyoming has more than 56,000 veterans, according to the VA. More than 20,000 of them served between the Gulf War and now. Of those, roughly 2,500 were seen by the Cheyenne and Sheridan VA Medical centers with PTSD symptoms between October 2001 and March 2013, according to the VA 2013 report. About 34 percent of Cowboy State veterans are enrolled in VA programs, estimated Air Force 1 Nike Buy Online

Blackman, 53, is a former Marine who suffered a head injury in a motorcycle accident during a tour in Bosnia. It took eight years, four divorces and a drug and alcohol addiction before he finally found help.

Back picking through the rubble of a bombed out building. Back searching for any bit of intelligence: A body to photograph, a finger to scan, anything that might prove a top level target had been hit in an airstrike.

Many Wyoming veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan go without care they've earned

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"We're not clinicians. We're veterans. We have suffered through depression, through PTSD and that, but we are recovering," Blackman said. "We help the veterans identify problems, stay away from triggers and what they can do to handle the problem at the time."The Army warned Najera there would be tough days. Go see a counselor when that happens, he was told.

He made a kicking motion with his feet.

"In one ear and out the other," was how he described the session.

The challenges Najera faces are not unique among the soldiers returning home from more than a decade of war in Afghanistan and Iraq. Many former soldiers are going without the care they are entitled to, veterans advocates say. Department of Veteran Affairs programs. The figure is similar in the Cowboy State, where approximately two thirds of veterans are either seeking care on their own or going without.

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he returned from Afghanistan, he and a group of other soldiers were assembled in a small auditorium at Schofield Barracks in Oahu Hawaii, where a woman talked about the challenges they might face as they returned to civilian life. But Najera didn't hear any of it. He wanted to go home and see his family, eat a burger, drink a beer.

Air Force Suede Black

Air Force Suede Black

Air Force Suede Black

Air Force Suede Black

Word of mouth, she believes, is the best way to encourage people to enroll. The military is a tight community. Men and women eat, breathe and fight together. The VA can spend money on commercials and other public outreach, but veterans are more likely to sign up if they've heard about it from one of their own, she said.

Air Force Suede Black

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