- Elton John blasts Russia’s anti-gay laws during Moscow concert
- U.N.: Afghanistan slow to enforce law protecting women
- Heart cancels SeaWorld concert after ‘Blackfish’ documentary
- South Carolina sheriff refuses to lower American flag for Nelson Mandela
- South Africans hold day of prayer for Nelson Mandela
- Mandela not on life support in final hours, friend says
- Ukraine protesters topple, decapitate Lenin statue in Kiev
- Kim Jong-un’s uncle removed from North Korean state documentary
- Thailand crisis deepens as opposition quits Parliament
- Campbell Soup apologizes for SpaghettiOs’ Pearl Harbor tweet
Delays beset veterans health care system
Getting treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder can be an arduous process for veterans who regularly must deal with administrative and medical delays, health care professionals say.
Alexis, who reportedly had PTSD after witnessing the 9/11 terrorist attacks in New York, enrolled in the VA system one month after he left the Navy Reserve in January 2011.
But he “never sought an appointment from a mental health specialist, and had previously either canceled or failed to show up for primary care appointments and claims evaluations examinations he had scheduled at VA Medical Centers,” the VA said in a statement.
Late last month, Alexis showed up a VA emergency medical center in Providence, R.I., and another in Washington, D.C., seeking medication for insomnia. After medical exams at both centers, he was given small doses of medication and told to follow up with primary care providers.
“On both occasions, Mr. Alexis was alert and oriented, and was asked by VA doctors if he was struggling with anxiety or depression, or had thoughts about harming himself or others, which he denied,” the VA statement said.
Weeks earlier, Alexis had called Newport, R.I., police to a hotel where he was staying and told them that voices were speaking to him through the wall, floor and ceiling, that three people were following him and keeping him awake with microwave vibrations, and that he had left two other hotels because of that. He also denied any history of mental illness.
Jason Hansman, senior program manager for health at the Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America, said there is “a huge stigma around mental health. People don’t want to self-identify as having an issue.”
Mr. Hansman said that veterans returning from war may not even recognize they have an issue, or don’t know where to go for help.
Alexis, however, was never deployed to a war zone.
Of the 2.5 million troops who have deployed since 9/11, only 1.7 million are eligible for VA care, and only half of those will seek care, said J.B. Moore, military and veterans policy and support manager for the National Alliance on Mental Illness. A little more than half are diagnosed with mental health issues like PTSD and depression.
“That’s not everyone who may need mental health care,” Ms. Moore said. “Every step of the way you are losing people that could be getting help.”
One complication in receiving care is the wait between when a veteran enrolls and the initial evaluation — which varies with how busy the VA facility is, Mr. Hansman said.
“It could happen within a couple of days, weeks or months,” he said. If a mental health issue is identified, the veteran will be scheduled to meet with a therapist, which could take additional days and weeks to set up.
© Copyright 2013 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.
About the Author
Kristina Wong is a national security reporter for The Washington Times, covering defense, foreign policy and intelligence affairs. She can be reached at email@example.com.
- Air Force building drone for operations in 'hostile' airspace: Report
- Pentagon plans to destroy Syrian chemical arms on ship at sea
- Joint Chiefs chair Dempsey: Pentagon, VA too slow in merging medical systems
- Pentagon may give recruits 'a shot to start over' after shameful social media posts
- Kill team: Obama war chiefs widen drone death zones
By Brahma Chellaney
Beijing's creeping aggression signals a challenge to U.S. presence in the Asian Pacific
- CURL: Obama tells a whopper on IRS scandal
- CHELLANEY: China's game of chicken
- Sen. Rand Paul pushes 'economic freedom zones' for Detroit
- Obamas call to close Vatican embassy is 'slap in the face' to Roman Catholics
- Bill OReilly reminds: Nelson Mandela was a communist
- Russian lawmaker wants to outlaw U.S. dollar, calls it a Ponzi scheme
- 'Dude, I'm dreading that I will have to go': Czech prime minister on Mandela funeral
- New Internet security challenge arises for cybercops
- Wife of Obama aide found dead in burning car in home's garage
- Congress creates a legislative fortress for military sex-assault policy
Independent voices from the The Washington Times Communities
Al Maurer provides a common sense, conservatarian, Constitutional conservative perspective from the battleground state of Colorado
Film Reviews and Articles by Kevin Williams
"Critical thinking is thinking about your thinking while you're thinking in order to make your thinking better." - Dr. Richard Paul
Go beyond tourism's "top 10" bus tour destinations with Susan McKee as she explores the varied history, culture, food, and gardens, of the world.
Let it snow
White House pets gone wild!