February 8, 2009

Our Veterans Mental Health System is Broke

The government system (DoD and VA) have become inundated with an ever increasing caseload of mentally ill combat soldiers and veterans. Compounding this problem, approximately 80% of military psychology positions have been filled, along with 80% of the VA positions. This does not reflect other mental health service practitioners.
I have an ongoing dialog with a therapist who just now received Tricare approval (after some much needed advice from a blogger that you might know...Yep, you guessed it, me), and she has taken a crash course in the combat flavor of PTSD. I gave her some direction and research when she was feeling overwhelmed in the beginning, as you can imagine one can when facing the horrors of killing and the pain this brings.
In Kentucky we have two major military bases with many soldiers who I know need help but cannot or will not seek help. Further widening the barriers to care, private practitioners do not have adequate integrative therapeutic skill sets based on the latest up to date research to engage this population, who in the past have been labeled as "treatment resistant." A misconceived attribution attached to combat PTSD (to be addressed in a follow up article).
Not only do we have this gap in services between the government and private sector, we do not have a treatment modality based on the most up to date research, and as if this was not enough of a hill to climb, we have unfilled mental health positions in the military and at the Veterans Administration.


  1. Good constructive therapy can depend on the state you are getting therapy in and how progressive they are on mental health issues. My husband did almost 4 tours of duty in Vietnam and is still doing therapy till this day, since I rescued him from trying to keep killing himself. I won't tell you how many times before I met him. It is a long and arduous journey. Your psychotherapist has to fit on you like a good, worn in shoe. It is not easy at all. A good family, support network is the most important also, after having a wife like me. G-d bless you and the other veterans, suffering from PTSD and whatever else ails you. Fight for you life. It does matter!!!!

  2. It does natter Deb, thank you and your husbands sacrifices. It took me many years to get to the point of being able to receive the therapy that I have had. It took me 15 years to get to the point of it becoming debilitating and me landing in a treatment center for 20 months. A long hard road for sure.


Please share your comments, stories and information. Thank you. ~ Scott Lee