- The Washington Times - Monday, July 25, 2016

A survey by the George W. Bush Institute’s Military Service Initiative says Americans have a warped understanding of veterans mental health issues.

Roughly 40 percent of adults in the U.S., Canada and the United Kingdom hold the erroneous belief that more than half of 2.8 million post-9/11 veterans have psychological problems. The Rand Corporation estimates that between 10 and 20 percent of veterans struggle with mental health issues.

“The civilian military divide is still there. … The needle has not moved, even though there have been tremendous efforts in this country in the past five years. But the work hasn’t been enough and it really is going to take public, private and nonprofit partnerships to build a national system of high-quality care and services [for veterans],” Army Col. Miguel Howe said earlier this month, Military Times reported Monday.

The George W. Bush Institute, which is located on the Southern Methodist University campus in Dallas, Texas, questioned 1,000 adults for its poll.

The survey also found that 80 percent of veterans cite embarrassment and shame as reasons why they refrain from seeking treatment, Military Times reported.

Dr. Barbara Van Dahlen, founder of the nonprofit organization Give An Hour, told the newspaper that the institute’s findings are a wake-up call for the nation.

“This is about what we need to do to change and address perceptions because they are getting in the way of the veterans getting the mental health care they need and relationships with the veterans we employ,” Dr. Van Dahlen said.

Give An Hour opened its doors in 2005 to offer counseling to individuals, couples, families, children and adolescents. The group assists veterans suffering from anxiety, depressing, substance abuse, post-traumatic stress disorder, traumatic brain injuries and other issues.

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