Eleven to 20 percent of Veterans who served in Iraq and Afghanistan are suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), based on estimates provided by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). In order to bring more attention to the plight of all those who are suffering from PTSD, National PTSD Awareness Day was observed on Monday, June 27.
A feature on The Washington Post shared the following statement from J. David Cox, National Secretary-Treasurer of the American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE): “We are deeply concerned that we continue to see the top-heavy VA management grow, while the frontline staff treating these conditions shrinks and is forced to do more with less… The VA must increase staffing and training within the agency to treat the thousands of service members transitioning back into civilian life who are dealing with PTSD and other mental health disorders.”
The VA, however, shared that it is taking steps towards providing PTSD-related services to Veterans.
In recognition of the fact that PTSD is a condition that has been, in recent years, associated with the traumatic experiences encountered in combat situations, the VA is among those that seek to raise awareness regarding the disease. Among the steps that it suggested toward this end is the posting of flyers regarding PTSD in common areas, adding links directed to PTSD information on websites, and the printing of educational materials regarding PTSD.
In addition, the VA shared that t has hired more than 3,500 mental health professionals over the past one and a half years. Josh Taylor, spokesman for the VA, shared: “This PTSD Awareness Day, VA is continuing to expand our mental health services by providing more staff and more resources to provide veterans and their families with the care and benefits they have earned.”