With VA hospitals all over the U.S. under intense scrutiny for delayed screenings, falsified records, and patient neglect, it is fair to say that veterans and veterans’ issues are finally in the spotlight. Even so, there are still glaring problems going relatively unnoticed. At least 22 veterans commit suicide every day, and — with current mental health programs — that figure is unlikely to change any time soon. What more can — and should — government officials, veterans lawyers, and veterans advocates do?
Government Mental Health Programs Aren’t Good Enough
Top officials point out a troubling discrepancy in mental health programs for U.S. soldiers and veterans. After returning from service, veterans are eligible for five years of mental health counseling and treatment — no questions asked. New research shows, however, that symptoms of serious conditions, such as post traumatic stress disorder, can take seven to 12 years to truly surface. For that reason, post traumatic stress disorder help that is restricted to five years after service — and only five years after — easily comes up short. Extending this window would easily help vets get more adequate care (and when they truly need it!).
Creative Alternatives To Talk Therapy May Reach More Vets
Researchers, moreover, are proposing various alternatives to talk therapy. Talk therapy does not work for everyone. In some cases, treatments for PTSD, military sexual trauma, or military sex crimes work best when supplemented with additional treatments. Scientists are exploring the benefits of new brain implants and distraction therapy. New brain implants work by releasing small electrical signals in the brain and correcting stressful thoughts and episodes. Scientists are exploring distraction therapy, on the other hand, using games like Tetris. “Focusing on a highly engaging visual-spatial task, such as playing video games, may significantly reduce the occurrence of flashbacks, the mental images concerning the trauma that intrude on the sufferer afterward,” Live Science explains.
Getting help with PTSD and help after military sex crimes is more than possible. The government carefully needs to reevaluate the length and effectiveness of veterans mental health programs. Find more.