June 27 is National PTSD Awareness Day
As we honor National PTSD Awareness Day today, we reflect on the “invisible wounds of war” that affect many of our servicemen and women.
Since the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001, more than two-and-a-half million of our nation’s men and women have answered their country’s call to military service in operations in Iraq and Afghanistan.
But their battle is not over when they return. The emotional distress and physical impairment of deployment can significantly impede reintegration into civilian life. Most sobering is the fact that in recent years an average of more than 22 veterans a day have committed suicide, more than have died in combat.
Further, families of our service members experience significant difficulties themselves as a direct result of the stressors associated with the service and repeated deployments of their loved ones. Rates of depression, anxiety and other behavioral and psychological disturbances have increased substantially among the children of veterans since our involvement in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
And yet, at least half of our veterans haven’t sought out care they need. At the Road Home Program, we encourage veterans to seek the support they may need to face their challenges. Here, veterans and their families will find a supportive, safe place to begin to heal. We offer evidence-based treatment for PTSD, peer-to-peer outreach, navigation of services, as well as children, couples and family counseling.
Despite the struggles our veterans face upon their return home, our team at the Road Home Program recognizes that many are thriving. We help veterans and the public at large recognize that veterans’ distinctive experiences, training and skills make them uniquely suited for prominent roles in bettering our communities. According to the 2015 Veterans Civic Health Index, veterans are leading movements across the country to improve disaster relief and community preparedness; promote physical fitness; combat homelessness; increase educational attainment; and more.
Our Road Home team stands by veterans and their families through it all. Our goal is to provide a center of care worthy of the men and women we are dedicated to serving.
Mark Pollack, MD, is former chairman of the Department of Psychiatry at Rush University Medical Center. Meet the entire team of the Road Home Program.
Additional Situation Report Posts: