August 19, 2008, Washington, DC – About 300,000 Iraq and Afghanistan war veterans suffer symptoms of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, according to a Rand Corporation study. Veterans say a lack of mental health services needs immediate attention, but the Department of Veterans Affairs says it’s providing veterans with the care they need.
Nick Morgan is a 24-year-old Iraq War veteran who came home in Feb. 2005. He was treated for PTSD at a veterans’ clinic in Morgantown, Penn. When the treatment failed, he took matters into his own hands. Morgan says his condition has improved, but he still needs help. After filing a claim with the V.A. for healthcare two months ago, Morgan says he still has not heard anything.
Dr. Antonette Zeiss is Deputy Chief Consultant of mental health services at the Department of Veterans Affairs. She says V.A. policy requires all veterans who request care to get a call back within 24 hours. Since 2004, V.A. funding and its number of mental health staff have increased significantly. Zeiss says the V.A. is prepared to help all veterans who need it.