Military veterans say mental health services need to improve

This article below is only one of many I found to address the state of mental healthcare for our military men and women.  There are soldiers from Vietnam who are still trying to get some help.  We’ve had more wars since then, so you can just imagine the number of veterans who are out there struggling with mental health issues.

These are people who served us all and we should be taking care of the battle scars they returned to us with.  Our government is getting better about acknowledging the mental health issues of the troops, but doing something about it is another thing entirely.

Write your congressman and demand better mental healthcare for your veterans, won’t you?  The way we treat our veterans is truly a shame.

Here’s the article from TheTandD.com.  Please read the entire article by clicking over to the original site.  Leave me a comment about your thoughts on this topic, won’t you?

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August 26, 2012 6:30 am  •  By DIONNE GLEATON, T&D Staff Writer

Zeke Felder wanted to serve his country by enlisting in the military, but the Army drafted him first. Now the Vietnam War veteran is not finding the government as quick when it comes to providing the treatment for his post-traumatic stress disorder.

“It looks like it takes forever to get that done. I don’t think a veteran should wait that long. They make every veteran prove what they did, what happened and what caused the trauma, and that’s very hard to do. It took me quite some time to get the claims that I applied for, but I encourage any veteran to become a member of a group,” said Felder, who is a member of the South Carolina Veteran’s Group based in North.

“Sometimes a veteran, especially if he has PTSD, has problems with family matters. You got to really experience these things to really know what a veteran is going through. We talk to veterans about how to cope with problems and also try to put them on the right road for putting in claims and so forth,” he said.

Processing claims is not the only difficulty. Some veterans are unhappy with the telemental health services being offered by the Orangeburg County Outpatient VA Medical Clinic to provide veterans living in rural and underserved communities with improved access to specialty care.

Those veterans feel they are losing the person-to-person therapy they’re used to. Instead, they’re being referred to a phone-based service.

Many veterans have been receiving services through a local psychiatrist at Orangeburg County’s Community Based Outpatient Clinic. They are now anticipating receiving care through the new telemental service method.

Evetta Gregg, the public affairs officer at the Dorn VA Medical Center in Columbia, said while the psychiatrist has retired from working with Dorn, there should be no interruption in services. Dorn runs the Orangeburg County clinic.

“The referral process to request services has not changed as we continue to serve veterans for their primary care and mental health needs. Primary care services provided through the CBOC include routine physical examination, laboratory testing, immunizations and preventive health maintenance,” Gregg said.

“Mental health options include evidence-based therapy and medication management at the clinic as well.”

Orangeburg County Veterans Affairs Officer Kenisha Grime, a U.S. Army veteran, said she is not a fan of teleconferencing and prefers personal one-on-one contact with a mental health professional.

“You’re used to carrying a weapon 24-7. I took me about eight or nine months to say I could leave my 9 mm at home. It took me sitting down with someone and talking,” said Grimes, who has been diagnosed with depression….(read more)

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