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VA Steps up PTSD Awareness Efforts

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In June, the Department of Veterans Affairs increased its efforts to educate veterans about the symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder. The month was marked as Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder Awareness Month, and throughout the month, the Department of Veterans Affairs National Center for PTSD embarked on a campaign to raise awareness about this serious health issue plaguing our veterans.

Throughout the month of June, the Department of Veterans Affairs provided resources on its website PTSD.va.gov, targeting service members and their families, and educating them about the signs of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. The agency also announced that it had hired 1,607 mental health professionals as part of its hiring target of 1,600 medical health professionals as outlined in President Obama’s executive order issued in August 2012.

Further, the Department of Veterans Affairs also confirmed that it has hired 2005 mental health and clinical providers to fill existing vacancies, and 318 new specialists against the targeted goal of 800 specialists by December 2013. The Department of Veterans Affairs plans to continue this awareness initiative through summer, and will conduct mental health summits at all of its 152 medical health centers across the country. These summits will be aimed at establishing strong and positive working relationships with community partners in order to combat Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder.

The vast numbers of veterans returning from combat duty in Iraq and Afghanistan have contributed to a major PTSD epidemic in the American military. Thousands of veterans suffer from this debilitating mental health disorder. PTSD is treatable, but effective treatment does require a very strong support system for the veteran, and appropriate mental health treatment strategies.

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