President, VA Making Progress on Veterans’ Mental Health Issues

Did you know that 19 out of 100 veterans of the Iraq war have reported a mental health problem?

According to the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), for Afghanistan war vets the number is 11%. For those who fought in Desert Storm, it’s 10%. For Vietnam Veterans, it’s 30 out of 100.

We at Towne Craft Designs continue to be concerned with the mental health problems suffered by our brave men and women who have fought for us. That is why we were pleased to hear President Obama repeat his support for our veterans in his State of the Union Address.

“We will keep faith with our veterans,” the President announced in his message on February 12, “investing in world-class care, including mental health care, for our wounded warriors; supporting our military families; and giving our veterans the benefits, education, and job opportunities they have earned.”

More encouraging news emerged on February 5 when the VA announced the establishment of a new online program aimed at veterans struggling with post-war mental disorders.

Moving Forward: Overcoming Life’s Challenges, is a web based initiative where veterans can go to get help if they are struggling with a number of issues related to readjustment to civilian life. It is a free program that helps individuals develop problem-solving skills to overcome stress. The step by step approach, designed for veterans and military service members, uses a variety of tools including videos, games and exercises.

A key benefit of the program is the ability of the individual to participate at home and proceed at his or her own pace. This is especially helpful for those who have difficulty getting to a VA center or who prefer to work on their problems in private.

We are also pleased to note that the VA continues to add mental health professionals to deal with this growing problem. According to VA Secretary Eric Shinseki, over 1000 mental health clinic providers have been added since August 2012. The goal is to hire 1600 new providers and 300 administrative staff by June 2013.

We applaud the efforts of the President and VA to continue to provide much needed help in this area for our veterans. It can’t happen fast enough for us.

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