Helping health workers help veterans

    A series of online training videos is helping health care providers understand the issues veterans commonly face when they return from military service.

    A series of online training videos is helping health care providers understand the issues veterans commonly face when they return from military service. From WHYY’s Behavioral Health Desk, Taunya English reports.

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    The series includes a video on post traumatic stress disorder. PTSD is an anxiety problem that leaves some veterans keyed up and on the alert for danger, sometimes years after the danger has passed. Department of Veterans Affairs psychologist Melissa Polusny appears on the video called “Breaking Point.”

    Joining Forces Video: There are a number of factors that seem to protect people from developing PTSD, one is how much social support they receive after they come home from a combat situation.

    Roger Baumgarten with Pennsylvania’s hospital association says the videos may expand the number of health care professionals who can help.

    Baumgarten: Particularly in Pennsylvania where we have a lot of National Guard who are returning home to their communities and seeing their primary care physicians and their family physicians, who may not be as well-versed on the issues that returning soldiers are facing.

    Data from the VA suggest that at least 18 percent of people serving in Iraq and 11 percent of those serving in Afghanistan will experience PTSD symptoms. Newark, Delaware resident Matt Matthews doesn’t have an official diagnosis, but believes he’s been suffering PTSD for years.

    Matthews: Sudden movement will startle me, oftentimes I cuss. The phone gets me frequently, believe me, I wish that I could get rid of it.

    Matthews retired from the Delaware National Guard after serving in Desert Storm. VA doctors are treating him with talk therapy and medication.

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