Memorial Day: Honoring the Heroes Fighting PTSD (from the National Alliance on Mental Illness)
Nine years of war in Iraq and Afghanistan have taken a great toll on soldiers who are serving repeated and longer tours of duty. USA Today this month reported that mental health disorders resulted in more American soldier hospitalizations in 2009 than any other reason—and that depression, substance abuse, anxiety and adjustment problems such as Post Traumatic Stress Disorder cost the Pentagon 488 years of lost duty in 2009.
On Memorial Day, we remember veterans and active duty service members, those who have sacrificed much in their service to our country. It is also a good time to remember those who struggle with PTSD—some of whom have never served in the military.
PTSD doesn’t just affect those who have enlisted; studies suggest that anywhere between 2–9 percent of the population has had some degree of PTSD, but the number may be higher among people diagnosed with another serious mental illness.
The consequences of untreated mental illness both within the military and in the civilian population are staggering: unnecessary disability, unemployment, substance abuse, homelessness, broken families, inappropriate incarceration and suicide. But these tragic outcomes are preventable. Treatment works and recovery is possible.
NAMI’s online Veterans Resource Center offers a variety of mental illness, policy and health care resources for veterans and active duty military members, as well as their families, friends and advocates.
Visit the website at: www.nami.org