June is PTSD awareness month. The VA has dedicated a large portion of their website to educating the public about the causes, symptoms, and treatment options for those who suffer from PTSD. The Department of Veterans’ Affairs states that roughly 7-8% of the population struggles with PTSD at some point in their lives. Around 5.2 million adults have symptoms of PTSD during a given year. Among veterans, the VA suggests that 11-20% of those who served in the Afghanistan and Iraqi wars experience PTSD. About 10% of Gulf War veterans and 30% of Vietnam veterans also suffer from the disorder. The numbers, however, are likely higher because many veterans do not seek treatment and are therefore unreported.
It is important to continue conversations about mental health among veterans. Earlier this year a VA report concluded that—between 1999 and 2010—22 veterans commit suicide per day. This sobering statistic points to a growing need to provide the necessary services, support, and treatment options for veterans dealing with psychological trauma and distress.
Here are a few links to PTSD-related material generated by the VA:
1. Consider signing up for the VA’s PTSD Monthly Update, to receive e-mails, at http://www.ptsd.va.gov/about/subscribe.asp.
2. Listen to veterans tell their stories of living with PTSD thanks to the “About Face” program, at http://www.ptsd.va.gov/apps/AboutFace/.
3. Download “PTSD Coach,” the mobile app that helps those manage and track PTSD symptoms, at http://www.ptsd.va.gov/public/pages/PTSDCoach.asp.
4. Review the VA’s “Returning from Warzone Guides,” with specific information for families and military personnel returning from service, at http://www.ptsd.va.gov/public/reintegration/returning_from_the_war_zone_guides.asp.
Sources: Michael Walsh, “U.S. Vets Commit Suicide at Alarming Rate: VA Study” February 2, 2013, New York Daily News, online at http://www.nydailynews.com/news/national/u-s-vets-commit-suicide-alarming-rate-study-article-1.1253900; and PTSD Awareness Month, online at http://www.ptsd.va.gov/about/ptsd-awareness/ptsd_awareness_month.asp.