(Does ANYONE recall my posting on August 16, 2009 "PTSD PANDEMIC"? Perhaps I missed by a few numbers, but I called it on August 16, 2009. CAN YOU SAY "PTSD PANDEMIC"? It is on our door step AMERICA - wake up!)
Written by Swords to Plowshares
Monday, 21 September 2009 08:52
San Francisco, CA
A recent study conducted by Stanford University found that rates of PTSD among service members deployed in Iraq and Afghanistan may be as high as 35%.
With two million troops deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan, we can expect that an astounding 700,000 veterans will suffer from PTSD.
These numbers are double previously projected numbers because unlike other projections, this study factors in delayed onset of PTSD, which is common.
The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) and the Department of Defense (DoD) must increase staff and resources to accommodate the mental health care needs of Iraq and Afghanistan active duty service members and veterans.
The DoD claims that the transition to VA services is a seamless one for veterans, but evidence shows otherwise. Both DoD and VA lack a sufficient number of mental health professionals on staff to diagnose, treat and provide compensation to patients with PTSD.
The staff shortage can be attributed to a lack of funding and a national shortage of mental health professionals, however the shortages continue to cause delays in treatment and compensation.
In California alone there are 59,659 VA claims that are currently pending process and this number will continue to rise as more troops return home.
"The DoD and VA must work together to eliminate the delays in treatment of and compensation for PTSD and co-occurring mental illnesses," said Michael Blecker, Executive Director of Swords to Plowshares.
"With 42% of troops stilled deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan it is crucial that the DoD improve transitional support and that the VA increase the number of mental health staff in order to provide mental health care and compensation in a timely manner. These delays are unacceptable because they create overwhelming stress and health complications for veterans," Blecker said.
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