(That is absolutely true- the best help does come in person. But the day I went to the VA mental health appointment with Pat just a few weeks before this horrific incident - his mental health provider slammed the door in my face in favor of having two students in the appointment. She did not take the time to talk to me, and then documented what the issues were as if they were nothing. I wonder what she thinks now?)
By Terri Barnes, Special to Stars and Stripes
Scene, Sunday, January 31, 2010
Sheryl is a career Army wife affected by post-traumatic stress disorder. Struggling to obtain counseling for herself and her children, Sheryl wrote: "My next goal and challenge is to speak out and make the military listen to me. I don’t want this to happen to another family, and I will … speak out loud and try and make it better for those who are behind me."
Soon after her comments appeared in a recent Spouse Calls column, I received an e-mail from Col. David Schall, Command Surgeon for U.S. European Command.
He didn’t take issue with Sheryl’s complaint or send me a list of Web sites to prove the military is doing something for families affected by PTSD.
He asked what he could do to connect Sheryl with the help she needed.
Knowing that many more "Sheryls" are out there, I asked Schall about resources for families affected by PTSD.
He and Lt. Col. Marianne Schlitt of EUCOM’s Quality of Life component provided their insights about connecting people with needed care.
It seems to me that information about combat stress is everywhere. AFN commercials tell us to call our chaplains. A mouse click yields plenty of PTSD Web sites. Tricare brochures list "Behavioral Health Services" for members and families, including psychotherapy, psychological testing, family therapy and more.
Why do some military families not find the help they need?
Schlitt said she believes people get overwhelmed by their problems, or are confused about where to begin. Their search for answers uncovers more questions.
"What’s the first port of entry?" spouses might wonder, she said.
(click below for complete story)