On Veterans Day Thursday, Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric Shineski offered another olive branch to veterans of recent wars, in Iraq and Afghanistan. Maybe the military is actually sincere in its efforts to reach out to our troubled returning warriors, including those with unseen wounds like post-traumatic stress disorder.
The veterans department put out a press release Thursday in which Shineski claimed that the “VA is taking unprecedented steps to reach out to veterans and their families with a television ad campaign, a new VA blog, and other social media initiatives, and outreach teams traveling throughout rural communities.”
The VA press release also honestly acknowledged the problem of PTSD and its intiatives regarding it.
“The emphasis is on meeting emergent transitional needs such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), which affects many veterans, including those returning from the Middle East, as well as those who served in Vietnam four decades ago,” the release said.
AOL News also posted comments from Shineski where he again stressed that the VA considers PTSD “a wound to the spirit,” but that it is treatable. And the VA is stepping up its efforts to help veterans suffering from this “invisible wound,” as Shineski calls it.
He listed a lot of VA efforts to help vets cope with PTSD, and said that his department has more than 200 programs dedicated to treating it.
So far, with military suicides at an all-time high, all these programs don’t seem to have had much of an impact. Let’s hope that changes — soon.