Stand Down Documentary

Stand Down is a 30 minute film documenting the miracle of recovery. Each year thousands of volunteers show up to help Veterans find their way back to meaning and purpose. The creation of a camp-like setting is formulated to invite each person to tap into their best self. Once inside the camp every social service is available from dental, legal, and housing. The Big Plus here is the camaraderie that Veterans crave. Far too many of those who walk through the gates are looking for a way to break through their isolation brought on by trauma, substance use disorders, or mental health problems.  Stand Down is an invitation to enter into a place where Veterans are seen, heard and respected. From its origins in San Diego in 1988 over 300 Stand Downs are now in place across the country. This documentary demonstrates the empathy, healing, and support that is the right of all who have served our country. For those that have been on the streets being able to trust the environment is a massive relief. Allowing others to express their vulnerabilities in a secure place with other Veterans is a healing opportunity. Asking for and getting support allows the women and men in attendance to find their way out of no way. In the words of Dr. Jon Nachison the co-founder of this event, “Stand Down is part family picnic, part drug free Woodstock music festival, with a big dose of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs.”

Stand Down Interview

Why did you decide to do Stand Down?

Dr. Jon Nachison: Stand Down was started because so many of the people who were homeless in America were Veterans. They’ve become invisible, they are part of the urban landscape and so we walk by them and we don’t even see them but right now the problem is really escalating and the escalating is due to the number of aging Veterans that are homeless. These are people who served their country, who have fought for their country in many situations but are now living on the street without any recourse to medical care. Medical science is telling us that people who are homeless tend to age more quickly than people who are not. The science is saying that basically somebody who is homeless is 15 to 20 years older chronologically than they would be otherwise if they weren’t homeless. The problem is they kind of gave up their youth in a way to serve this country and now they are homeless. I think we need to care and it is a shame on us as American citizens. They are part of who we are, some of them are the best of who we are.

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