I’m always looking for great veterans websites. Veterans Today is full of wonderful articles on veterans news and issues. Today I read a very informative article on veterans and mental health care, by Rosalyn Carter and Patrick Kennedy. Carter has been fighting for better mental health care for many years.
November 11, 2010 posted by Michael Leon ·
By Rosalynn Carter and Patrick Kennedy in The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
This Veterans Day, Americans will pay tribute to our military veterans, the men and women who have returned home from Iraq and Afghanistan. We will remember also those who still serve. However, truly honoring our armed forces means doing all we can to help address the disturbing trends of suicide, family violence, substance abuse, post-traumatic stress disorder, depression and other mental health conditions found among our troops as a result of combat. Although they often are invisible, combat-related neurological injuries are wounds of war nonetheless and should be treated with the same urgency as we would treat other injuries.
The Carter Center recently held a national symposium on the reintegration of veterans into families, communities and the workplace. A recurring theme in the meeting was the damaging effect of stigma and discrimination on the health of veterans and their families.
According to a recent study, the rate of suicide among the military actually has surpassed that of the general public. These needless deaths are particularly devastating for the survivors, considering that a soldier’s safe return should have meant that he or she had successfully escaped harm.
Fortunately, effective treatments are available for even the most serious neurological illnesses. But many soldiers avoid treatment for fear of being perceived as weak by their colleagues or because of concerns that a history of mental illness may prevent them from advancing in their military career.
The armed services are working to change this perception and encourage soldiers to get help. Leaders like Staff Sgt. Megan Krause and Maj. Gen. David Blackledge (realwarriors.net) have come forward with their own experiences and battles with mental illness. But much more needs to be done.
To read the whole article, and for other veterans stories go to:
Note: I am so thankful for those people who are advocating for better mental healthcare for our veterans. The need is so great, and we all need to keep the push on to erase the stigma that is still related to seeking help. That stigma is costing too many lives, and prolonging unnecessary suffering.
I remember how embarrassed and timid I felt when I first reached out for help from the Veterans Outreach Center back in 1987. Yet it was the help I received there that truly saved my life, and helped restore me to sanity.
While I’m grateful for their help, (and for my wonderful Nam vet counselor) I’m still angry that the VA policy meant that as soon as my divorce (from my Nam combat vet) became final, I was told I was no longer eligible for counseling. What timing, kicking me out at the most vulnerable time of my life! Outrageous………..
We need to keep fighting for positive change!
It’s still hard for me to believe that after all these years, shame and stigma remain. It takes courage and guts to ask for help, but it can be “so worth it.” I’m living proof, for I’m still here, alive and kicking, and doing my small part to spread the word.