Mental Health and PTSD Among the Troops
Theories are varied as to why suicides and murders by service members and veterans are on the rise. One point that everyone agrees on is that mental health issues have been stigmatized for so long that many people who need help are afraid to ask for it. The Defense Department and VA are concerned. When Leon Panetta was Secretary of Defense, he laid out a four-pillar strategic approach to prevent military suicides: leadership; improving health care quality and access; elevating the importance of mental fitness; and increasing research into suicide prevention.
There is clearly still much work to be done, but there are resources available. The VA lists more than 20 organizations and services available to active duty personnel, veterans and families. The US Army offers a Psychological Health Care Fact Sheet. The American Psychiatric Nurses Association offers general mental health assistance in addition to services specific for PTSD and Traumatic Brain Injury. USAA provides a book on suicide prevention that is free to download.
PTSD and other mental health issues also take a toll on military spouses and can cause serious health issues.
Active duty troops and veterans alike may be able to benefit from the recent emphasis on suicide prevention. If you are currently feeling despair or hopeless, or if you are concerned about someone else’s health, please contact the National Suicide Prevention Hotline at 1-800·273-TALK (8255).
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