Tuesday, October 18, 2011

The U.S. Must Help Veterans Cope with Combat Trauma

Twenty percent of all Iraq and Afghanistan veterans carry either post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) or major depression from their service, according to a recent study. This is roughly 400,000 of the 2,000,000 soldiers who have served in the wars. These staggering numbers represent the lasting impact that the atrocities of war can leave on the men and women of our armed forces.

For these soldiers, returning home from the battlefront is the beginning of the fight against psychiatric and neurological disorders.

These conditions are treatable. Therapy and medications are available for the illnesses, and have been shown to be effective. The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) also has systems and hospitals in place to take care of individuals suffering from the illnesses.
Greater awareness of the issues by the civilian population is key. With an election right around the corner, this is the appropriate time for veteran’s health care to become an “issue” to be discussed.
This is not a government program that can be cut, but one that actually needs an increase in funds. Politicians have been debating, and yet this is a topic that has not yet been breached or accounted for.

There is no way for civilians to understand the sacrifices that soldiers have had to make to serve and protect our country. But we can listen to them, educate ourselves, and try to understand.

Whether you agree with the purpose of the wars or not is inconsequential. The men and women of the Armed Forces have been overseas fighting to protect our country and its citizens. We should also be fighting for them.

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