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Tuesday, October 9, 2012

PTSD - Veterans Face A Psychological Toll

 Mental Illness Awareness Week

This week is Mental Illness Awareness Week. It was established by the U.S. Congress in 1990. One of the most often discussed mental illnesses is post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).  PTSD has been given much coverage over the past couple of  years as our military members return from multiple deployments from our two wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

PTSD, the psychological toll on our veterans...

This past week, on October4, 2012, NBC's Rock Center with Brian Williams featured a segment that introduced the audience to Sergeant Louis Loftus. He is one of 2.4 million soldiers who have served in either Iraq or Afghanistan, or both. The Veterans Administration is said to have treated 100,000 veterans for PTSD, just last year alone. The problem is that many who suffer with PTSD are reluctant to seek treatment fearing that a diagnosis of PTSD will stigmatize them and ultimately affect their military career and their ability to find employment in the public or private sectors.

Additionally, left untreated many with PTSD symptoms will soon develop depression and begin to abuse alcohol. According to the Rock Center report "A 2012 report from the American Journal of Public Health found that that 39 percent of veterans returning from combat in Iraq and Afghanistan screened positive for alcohol abuse."

NBC's Richard Engel meets Sergeant Louis Loftus

If you are having trouble viewing the video, you can see it here.  

Resources for Advocacy

The operative word in the designation Mental Illness Awareness Week is awareness. So many of us don't understand how to recognize the symptoms of mental illness in ourselves, our relatives or friends. We often don't know how to seek help or treatment or where to seek help. Additionally, we tend not to understand how legislative action impacts treatment availability and funding for treatment. If you do nothing else this week try to become more aware. Visit NAMI's Advocacy Action Center and find our what is going on in your own state and in the US Congress. Every life is worth it. Awareness is the first step.


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