Veterans deserve the best mental-health care. How to help them this Veterans’ Day.

by James Hubbard, M.D., M.P.H.

It is difficult to imagine the sacrifice and horrors our heroes, past and present, have faced, but we must never forget.  They have protected and taken care of us.  It’s inconceivable that we would not do the same for them.

After they come home, the physical and mental scars do not go away.  In fact, they affect the family they come home to, also.

According to Science Daily, there are an estimated 23,816,000 veterans.  The U.S. is getting close to 5,000 casualties in Iraq alone.  Estimates are 10-to-15-times that many have been injured, and that about 15 to 30 percent suffer post traumatic stress syndrome (PTSD).  We’ve become aware of the increased domestic violence after soldiers come back home.

I could quote more statistics, but our heroes are not just statistics.  They are our neighbors, co-workers, family members and patients.  Today, thank them for their service.  In the future, be aware of their unique perspective and health problems.  Get involved if you suspect a problem.

Know the warning signs for PTSD, suicide and domestic partner abuse. If you have suspicions, make sure the person is getting help.  If he or she is not, talk to the vet or the vet’s family, call the nearest veterans hospital or call one of these hotlines.

  • VA PTSD Information Line: (802) 296-6300
  • National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-TALK (8255)
  • National Domestic Violence Hotline: 1-800-799-SAFE (7233)

They deserve the best.

Here’s an important suicide-prevention PSA from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, featuring Gary Sinise. Have you ever helped someone in trouble? Please share your story in the comments section below.

 

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7 Responses to “Veterans deserve the best mental-health care. How to help them this Veterans’ Day.”

  1. Miz LIz Says:

    Dr. Hubbard. The New York Times has a great piece on the value of pets to vets with disabilities, including PTSD… Check it out.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2008/11/11/giving/11DOGS.html?ref=giving

    Miz LIzs last blog post..Masking tape..more from my interview with Patti Digh

  2. James Hubbard, M.D., M.P.H. Says:

    Thanks for the link. Interesting and heartwarming.

  3. Steve Parker, M.D. Says:

    Thanks for supporting our Veterans. We MUST treat them better.

    -Steve

    Steve Parker, M.D.s last blog post..Statin Reduces Heart Attacks, Strokes, and Death in Healthy Older Adults, But at What Cost?

  4. James Hubbard, M.D., M.P.H. Says:

    I agree, Dr. Parker.
    Thanks for the comment

  5. Mark Says:

    Great timing! Thanks for this!

  6. Sagan Says:

    They do deserve the best! And this is an issue which isn’t being given as much consideration as it ought. I hope that they are all okay and that the majority don’t have those problems to deal with- but its good to know that the help is there if its needed.

    Sagans last blog post..Roasting a Pumpkin

  7. James Hubbard, M.D., M.P.H. Says:

    Thanks Sagan,
    I live in near a large army base. We have had several publicized acts of violence, domestic and otherwise, from soldiers coming back from the mideast. I’m sure there is much more not publicized. The powers-that-be say they are aware and concerned and active in making sure everyone has the help they need. I hope so. It is our responsibility as a nation to do so.

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