Help for Struggling Veterans
Friday, October 10th, 2008
About 120 Pennsylvania therapists and counselors are donating their time to a mental health program for veterans and their families. Friday Pennsylvania Congressman Joe Sestak recognized the Give an Hour program and urged military personnel to seek out help when they need it.
Psychologist Barbara Romberg, who founded the national program, says post traumatic stress is a natural, human reaction to horrific experiences.
Romberg: We know that the symptoms of post traumatic stress are greatly reduced if appropriate treatment is provided quickly to those in need. We know that post traumatic stress doesn't have to become a chronic mental illness, nor does it have to ruin lives or destroy families.
Congressman Sestak, a veteran himself, says about 40 percent of veterans returning home from Iraq come home with a mental health challenge like anxiety or depression. He says about 40 percent of that group don't report the problem.
Romberg says it's clear more help is needed, and Give an Hour extends the care that the military provides.
Romberg: Army personnel committed suicide last year at the highest rate in 26 years.
Jennifer Crane from Downingtown spoke at the hearing. She's 25, a stay-at-home mom and an Army vet who served in Afghanistan. She has chronic post-traumatic stress disorder.
Crane: There are hundreds of thousands of people out there, just like me, suffering and feeling like society has forgotten about them.
It took Crane three years to find help. Psychologist Barbara Romberg is hoping her program will shorten that delay for other veterans.