November 14, 2012 - Up to 20 percent of the 26 million Iraq and Afghanistan war veterans develop post-traumatic stress disorder related to their military service. For some of these returning soldiers, something as simple as a rock hitting a windshield can trigger a traumatic episode.
Those who have never been in combat can have difficulty fully understanding the true emotional toll. Yet the invisible wounds of war are more pervasive now than ever before. In fact, the Veterans Administration reports that U.S. troops have seen more casualties by suicide this year than by enemy fire. As those troops draw down in Iraq and Afghanistan, veterans are increasingly coping with debilitating conditions such as PTSD and combat-related traumatic brain injury.
While the U.S. Department of Defense and the Department of Veterans Affairs have made good progress in diagnosing and treating these problems, major gaps remain. A recent study by the Institute of Medicine recommends increased screening and tracking, as well as a bigger investment in PTSD research.
That’s why for Veterans Day, Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis partnered with more than 100 U.S. medical schools to raise awareness of the health needs of the nation’s veterans, service members and families, and to elevate the role that medical schools and teaching hospitals play in serving this important community.
As part of this initiative, called Joining Forces Wellness Week, we’re highlighting some of the work we do to improve health care for service members, veterans and their families. read more>>>