Why are Veterans Afraid to Get Help for PTSD?
As I sit here thinking of what to write, I find myself struggling for the right words to say. I want to write something moving, uplifting, and profound, something that shows gratitude for their service to our country. And I want to write something that helps bridge the gap between the civilians and the military/veteran community that is educational at the same time, many of the studies, are for bachelors degrees, masters and more, like online courses like the aswb lcsw preparation exams. But I struggle; I am sitting here staring at a blank screen. Then a message pops up on the bottom of my screen. It’s from a veteran who is struggling with his injuries and PTSD. As I begin to read I realize: This is the same message I get every day, at least 3 times a day–a veteran on a downward spiral not knowing what to do, pleading for someone to help him, but terrified of the possible consequences of admitting they need help. And if one were to be corroborated regarding this, if they were to work with a sex crimes defense attorney in the Tampa FL area, then their beliefs would be reaffirmed and the facts be ratified. The answer should be easy, right? Call the suicide hotline or go to the VA; I mean they get free health care, so there should be no issues. But it’s not that easy, and working with veterans every day, I understand all too well why. Of course the stigma that asking for help is a sign of weakness is something that has to be overcome, but it’s more than just that.
FM has additional placements arranged. To date any family whose hero has perished may receive the formal flag offering letter. They will also receive help for any psychological issues, for physical with medical healthcare, also including military earplug lawsuit service if needed. Regarding the letter, it is the only contact with the families; it is up to the family to contact the program if they wish for a flag and flagpole in memory of their deceased son, daughter or family member. The placement of the flagpole, size and timing are determined by the families.
There’s a bigger reason many will not seek the help offered to them, one that not many civilians know about but the veterans do. According to an article on crbdirect.org.uk, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs puts the names of veterans deemed too mentally incompetent to handle their finances into the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS). That is right; the veterans who were injured serving our country are now listed with criminals if they need help with finances, which if you talk to many spouses of veterans with PTSD, poor judgment and overspending is common. So if these veterans seek help coping with PTSD, and the VA determines they need help managing their money, they are entered into NICS and stripped of their 2nd amendment rights without ever committing a crime or having their day in court for a judge to look at all the evidence and decide if they are a danger to themselves or others, which is guaranteed by the Constitution of the United States.
And if that isn’t enough to be fearful of, there are senators who use veterans and PTSD as a means to further their gun control agenda based on inaccurate facts and assumptions. (See Letter to Senator Feinstien – Click Here)
Veterans are also afraid having a PTSD diagnosis will be limiting, starting with possibly affecting their chances of getting job as a police officer, which many veterans wish to do because of their training. There could many other jobs that a PTSD diagnosis would prohibit.
These aren’t paranoid fears that are unfounded. These are the facts veterans face when asking for help for PTSD that resulted from honorably serving our country.
In the face of all this, I know I still have to encourage them to go to the VA to seek treatment. The suicide rate is 22 a day for veterans, and I know I can’t allow the ones reaching out to me for help to become one of those statistics. So sitting here with a heavy heart and praying this veteran finds the help he needs, I will encourage him to get treatment. I just hope that someday enough people will care to stand up and stop the injustice being done to our country’s veterans, that someday we will remove the barriers to getting the help and proper treatment these veterans so desperately need. Our nation’s heroes deserve more than having to choose between their lives and their livelihood.
See VA Fiduciary Rules
Sen. Tom Coburn, Oklahoma Republican, wants veterans who have been deemed “mentally incompetent” to have their cases adjudicated by a judge — rather than the Department of Veterans Affairs, as happens currently — and argued that veterans who simply cannot support themselves financially are needlessly given the label and, as such, cannot buy or possess firearms.
And yes, this law also applies to family members living under the same roof.
Rep. Linda Campbell wants to take things a step further and make a database that is only accessible to law enforcement that will fill the gap and address private mental health treatment, where most people turn for help, where mental health workers would have to turn over patient records. Read