Veterans Can Use New, Expanded VA Mental Health Services.
by Paul Sullivan and Aniela Szymanski.
As the war drums beat louder for Syria, some Veterans with posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and other mental health conditions are reporting more anxiety. As war Veterans who deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan, we, too, are distressed by the ominous threat of impending war.
We get worried and anxious about our fellow service members going into harm’s way, just like all Veterans who have “been there and done that” feel.
We know, however, that one of the first things we should do is limit our watching television news or following the situation too closely. News coverage tends to focus on the worst case scenarios that cause us undue anxiety about circumstances we cannot control. Focusing on our own well-being is vital to helping others.
The United States usually sees an increase in Veterans seeking mental health care as the talk of war rises. It’s a historical pattern. When the U.S. invaded Iraq and Kuwait in 1991, demand for care increased substantially. The same happened after 9/11 and the second U.S. invasion of Iraq in 2003.
As more of our Veteran clients mention the looming U.S.-Syria conflict as increasing their symptoms, we think about our many friends who still wear the uniform – including some deployed to Southwest Asia – and we want to help.
We can do that by sharing how we care that no fellow war Veterans are left behind here at home.
Most Veterans know they can get professional and compassionate medical care for their anxiety, depression or other problems from the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). Yet some Veterans still don’t know how or where to get help, or they are reluctant to seek it. So here is our message: There is professional medical assistance available:
- VA’s toll-free crisis line: 800-273-8255
- VA’s Veteran Crisis web site is veteranscrisisisline.net.
- VA’s Vet Center counseling offices: http://www.va.gov/directory/guide/vetcenter_flsh.asp
Positive Veteran PTSD Role Models
Many more positive role models exist for our Veterans today than did in the past. For example, moments after receiving the Medal of Honor this week from President Barack Obama, Afghanistan War Veteran Ty Carter stood in front of the White House and encouraged Veterans with mental health concerns to reach out for help.
Army Staff Sergeant Carter’s actions show that he knows what it means to leave no one behind ~ both in battle and here at home.
In an effort to reduce stigma that is unfairly attached to mental health issues, recipients of the Medal of Honor, our nation’s highest military award, prepared this life-saving public service announcement. Please share this important video among your friends and community.