Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Warrior Care Month: U.S. Veterans and Mental Health

One of the things that made growing up "interesting" was the fact that my father came home from Vietnam suffering mental health issues. Without going into detail, let's just say that it made me acutely aware of how important the issue of mental health care for our nation's veterans truly is.

So, as we advance towards the advent of a new administration, it is wonderful to see that others are raising awareness of the issue. With the promise of an extensive reboot of health care, the viability of which has yet to be tested, it is important to not let this one aspect get left behind.

According to this press release, the American Psychiatric Association (APA) is working hard to keep this issue on the radar. Their efforts are going into overdrive right now because thanks to the U.S. Department of Defense, November has been named Warrior Care Month this year.

The APA joined other mental health organizations today in recognizing Give an Hour, a national grassroots network that provides free mental health services to military members and their families.

"Not all wounds are physical. There are those hidden injuries that impact the mental health of soldiers, their friends, families and dear ones," said Carolyn Robinowitz, M.D., APA past president at the press event. "All wounds need attention, and a soldier's mental health wounds are no different. The combat experience presents a multitude of challenges to service members -- challenges that persist and affect those with whom they interact."
In addition to Give An Hour, the APA has compiled an array of resources on issues such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PSTD), depression, and other issues facing veterans on Recent studies by the RAND Corporation indicate that over a third of our troops return from combat with some level of mental health issue.

SOURCE: "Veterans Day Highlights Need for Military Mental Health Care" 11/10/08
photo courtesy of KimberlyFaye, used under its Creative Commons license

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