Parity for Patriots

Soldier with PTSD

The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) recently released a report titled ‘Parity for Patriots: The Mental Health Needs of Military Personnel, Veterans and their Families.’ This report examines the mental health issues that our country’s service members and their families face, and what can be done about it.

“The long wars are winding down and the troops are coming home, but thousands of military service members, veterans and their families must tend to the psychological wounds of battle for years to come. Mental health disorders, signature injuries of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, affect one in five active duty service members and are the most common cause of hospitalization. Spouses and children, particularly among the National Guard and Reserves, develop mental health conditions at about the same rate as service members yet many have scant health care coverage and scarce access to military-informed care. Too often, once a war is over, the mental health needs of those who have served are forgotten.”

These courageous individuals often experience many hidden wounds. Some statistics include:

–One in five active duty service members have experienced symptoms of post-traumatic stress, depression, and other mental
health issues
–The Veterans’ Administration has treated more than 400,000 post 9/11 veterans for mental health problems
–One active duty soldier commits suicide every 36 hours, and one veteran every 80 minutes
–One-third of military spouses have been diagnosed with at least one mental disorder
–One-third of children with at least one deployed parent have had psychological challenges such as acute stress reaction,
depression, anxiety, and behavioral disorders, which intensified with longer deployments

This document outlines several recommendations that can be carried out by the U.S. Department of Defense, the Veterans Health Administration, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, and the American people. As expressed by First Lady Michelle Obama and Jill Biden: “In every community, every day, we can find concrete ways to show our military families the respect and gratitude the each of us holds for them in our hearts. They deserve our support long after welcome home ceremonies are over…Every American can do something.”

To read the press release from NAMI, click here

Article formerly posted at https://www.hsdl.org/blog/newpost/view/s_4578