Another bit continuing yesterday’s post regarding concerns of a potential “epidemic” of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder in returning veterans. This from an article that has been in my briefcase for a while.
In a report from the VA’s national advisory panel on PSTD it was reported that returning veterans have to wait an average of 60 days before they can be evaluated for PSTD, which, of course, means even longer to begin treatment. 42% of VA primary care clinics have no mental health staff and 53% of those that do have staff have only one such individual. 82% of new patients need very intensive PTSD treatment, but 40% of those programs are so full that they can only handle “a few more cases”, with 20% reporting that they are too full to take on new patients.
Particularly considering the 30% increase in PSTD-diagnosed individuals among returning veterans since 2005, unavailability of treatment is going to be a huge bottleneck. This is likely to contribute to increased risk of death by suicide, homelessness with attendant health risks (and death risk), among other personal and societal problems. We owe them more than this. What do we need to do to prevent these preventable deaths from occurring in the (not distant) future?