Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Why is the VA system a debated topic?

The main question is: Do veterans receive the benefits and care they deserve and were promised? 

A very common disorder among service members is Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. Post Traumatic Stress Disorder can be caused by witnessing or experiencing something traumatic. Traumatic experiences include "combat, a terrorist attack, sexual or physical assault, a serious accident, a natural disaster or childhood sexual or physical abuse (DCOE 2014)." 

As of March 2014, there were just shy of 35,000 cases of PTSD among service members who had not deployed. Among service members who had deployed, there were a little over 121,000 cases. These numbers only reflect the reported cases of PTSD (DCOE 2014). With such a high rate of veterans with PTSD, it is a concern that the VA system does not provide enough care. 

There is reason to believe this because Veterans Affairs stated in 2013 that 22 veterans commit suicide every day; PTSD can lead to suicidal thoughts. That being said, that number is based off of reported suicides. Not all deaths are reported as a suicide, even though in many instances among veterans, it is the case. 

Fortunately, because this is such a significant issue, more funding is being provided for suicide prevention (Parnell 2015). Additionally, a law was passed this year with the intention of improving the VA's psychiatric services and suicide prevention (Parnell 2015). 

So what's the problem? Why is this such a "hot" topic? Why are people doubting the VA? 

People are doubting the VA because the process in which a veteran has to go through to access these resources is not quick enough for someone who is contemplating suicide (Parnell 2015). 

Below is a video released on ABC News regarding an Iraq War veteran's suicide. 

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