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Post-traumatic stress disorder takes a 'village'

By jimstaro - Posted on 15 July 2010

Florida vets with PTSD need boosted grass-roots response.

{As does the rest of the country and should have over these last some three plus decades!!}

July 14, 2010 In a long overdue move, U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs officials took shears to the red tape that tangled up veterans pursuing disability benefits for post-traumatic stress disorder.

Noncombat veterans who served in war zones no longer need produce backing documents or buddies to vouch for a specific event that triggered their PTSD. Now, it's presumed that a combat-zone veteran's claim of PTSD is service-connected.

Certainly, the VA would have made an even bigger splash had it also lightened the load of its understaffed ranks of mental-health professionals by blessing PTSD diagnoses from private-sector therapists.

Still, relaxing the claims process is progress. Progress that VA Secretary Eric Shinseki insists "goes a long way to ensure that veterans receive the benefits and services they need."


Fortunately, grass-roots groups like Give an Hour have begun filling Florida's gaps. The nonprofit recruits mental-health therapists around the country who donate an hour of counseling to veterans.

"Unfortunately, the tremendous number of people affected makes it impossible for the military alone to respond adequately to the mental-health needs in its greater community," says psychologist Barbara Van Dahlen, founder and president of Give an Hour. Continued


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