We're ten days out from this year's 'After the Uniform' Panel at the National Press Club in Washington, DC. This year's panel is dedicated to addressing PTSD. With this in mind I will be outlining the major issues facing veterans with PTSD. First up:
The State of Behavioral Healthcare
Behavioral healthcare in the United States is a disgrace. Little has been done to truly modernize care and the stigma associated with having a behavioral disorder is damaging and debilitating. Americans with behavioral disorders are treated like second class citizens by many and ignored by others. This is felt even more strongly by our military and veteran populations. The stigma associated with PTSD is such a strong deterrent that thousands never come forward to get the treatment they need out of fear of stigmatization - fearful of either torpedoing their military careers or severely limiting their employment prospects after they transition back to civilian life. Don't get me wrong, there are a lot of groups out there dedicated to educating the general public about behavioral disorders. The real problem is that the stereotypes are so ingrained that people don't want to listen.
The advent of the internet age should have facilitated a fundamental paradigm shift in the way we approach treatment and awareness. The sad truth - nothing has changed. In our country, the internet is not used effectively to reach veterans or facilitate treatment. While this deficiency has been recognized by our Federal Government, little has been done to rectify the situation.
Case and Point: Earlier this month, the Federal Government announced the creation of a new website -
It opened to such huge fanfare that no one I know even knew it existed or that it had launched. Seriously, click on the image and take a look. It's only taken the United States until the middle of 2013 to get these types of basic aspects of facilitating care onto the internet.
Great Britain, Canada and Australia on the other hand...They have online access to anonymous peer-to-peer support, online therapy, and the ability to refer people to 'real world' professional care. One of the major pioneers in this modernization of behavioral healthcare in these countries is The Big White Wall -
Their approach is modern and allows people to come forward and get support without the fear of stigmatization. Their work has been lauded in many circles as the 'proof of concept' for the future of behavioral healthcare. Ever heard of them? No? Did you know they have been trying to gain entry into the US market?
It makes me wonder how many more of our brethren-in-arms would reach out for help if they had this kind of option for support and care accessible to them.
So there you have it. I think I have adequately drawn attention to the state of behavioral healthcare in this country. Up next: The VA
As I continue my life with PTSD, I will share my challenges and discoveries on this blog.