Email from a reader:
I will be reading your blog in detail. I am a counselor in [your nearest town], I have counseled 3 former soldiers, all with varying degrees of combat stress. I wish I could say that I have helped them. There is really no training information for civilian counselors that has satisfied me. The VA is little or no help to me, but I realize that I have to get more savvy about how it can help them. [The nearest base] is little or no help to civilian counselors. They didn’t even have a PTSD group on base until the 7th soldier killed himself in 2007 and received national attention b/c his widow insisted to national news that he was not helped appropriately. That was one who was credited as suicide. I know of a soldier who killed himself and the Army hushed it by giving his widow death benefits by listing it as a combat injury.My response:
Anyway, I have applied for Tricare approval to become a provider and been denied on bogus grounds (last time they said there was no evidence that [my college] is an accredited institution – of course it is) twice despite the horrible mental health needs of the soldiers that any Joe Shomoe can read about online. I’ve appealed a third time. It all sickens me. However, as word spreads that I am open to helping and I have no military ties, they will come. AND they will pay out of their own pockets to get some relief. I want to be more prepared. Maybe you can help me to help them.
I’ll be in touch.
Thank you Joe (name changed) for your compassion towards veterans with PTSD. This insidious mental injury is all the rage in the news at this time, due to the perseverance of families with soldiers suffering from PTSD and the resulting suicides. I say all the rage because the media puts the face on this issue like things are being done to help, when in reality we are just beginning to touch on the topic and have little research on the complexities of PTSD or the resources to help our veterans. In addition we have insufficient training programs in our colleges and for practitioners already in the field. I will have to take an independent study course to be able to include trauma therapy geared toward PTSD at U of L, so I can be prepared to give our veterans the specialized care they need. We will be facing a mental health epidemic of proportions never seen before in the history of American Warfare. With the unprecedented levels of sustained combat and extended multiple tours our veterans will be facing the crippling effects of PTSD with their families as well as the public with generational consequences.
Thank you again, for your concern and commitment, I will do what I can to help you in your endeavors. I can only offer my experience as it relates to me and my life as I am not yet in the capacity of a therapist. I can answer your questions and give you insights as it pertains to my intuitions and knowledge that I have acquired.
I would like to put your email and my response in my blog as it covers and underscores the issue of how little prepared we are to handle the ensuing issue of PTSD.