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Monday, August 07, 2006

Daily Press: Improve Returning Vet Health Care

Important editorial in today's Hampton Roads, VA Daily Press:

"The casualties of war are not always the obvious ones, and the wounds brought home are not always visible until after they've begun to affect families and entire communities. Recent studies suggest that soldiers and Marines returning from Iraq are seeking mental health services at a very high rate. Whether it is post-traumatic stress, anxiety, suicidal impulses, alcohol and drug abuse or marriage and family problems - all of which can manifest themselves in the aftermath of combat duty - these are needs that must be taken very seriously.

Most alarming is the situation faced by many reservists and National Guard members, whose military insurance benefits cover only those problems diagnosed within 180 days after returning from combat. Those two groups now comprise about 40 percent of the front-line forces in Iraq and more than half in Afghanistan, the highest percentage for any war in U.S. history. They are doing more tours of duty, and longer ones, than anticipated, and when they return home - not to military bases, but to their families, communities and workplaces - it is imperative that they receive any counseling or mental health care they need."

Read the rest, then consider emailing thanks to the Daily Press for standing up for our returning veterans.

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