Created pro bono by Saatchi & Saatchi, the new TV, radio, outdoor and Web PSAs encourage Iraq and Afghanistan veterans to join IAVA's online community, where they can connect with each other, share their experiences, get advice and support and find access to resources and special offers. The effort is a continuation of the Veteran Support campaign, which was launched on Veterans Day 2008, letting veterans know that they are not alone. In addition to the veterans' online network, it is supported by a website for families and friends of veterans.
Since the launch of the IAVA online community last year, almost 3,000 veterans have joined. The site has had more than 700,000 visits, with more than 500,000 unique visitors.
"This historic campaign is literally saving lives. By giving Iraq and Afghanistan veterans a community of their own they are able to connect and support one another in a way that wasn't possible before," IAVA Executive Director Paul Rieckhoff said in announcing the new effort. "The first year was only the beginning. Over the next few years, we will continue to grow the community and make an even greater impact on returning veterans."
Of the nearly 2 million veterans who have served in Iraq and Afghanistan, 20% have screened positive for post-traumatic stress disorder or depression and 19% percent suffer from a traumatic brain injury. More than 230 active servicemen committed suicide last year, the highest military suicide statistic in 30 years, according to the U.S. Department of Defense.
The campaign is funded by the Iraq Afghanistan Deployment Impact Fund of the California Community Foundation.