Counseling troops when they come home

April 7, 2008 6:51:45 PM PDT
The Department of Defense says more than a million men and women have served in Iraq and Afghanistan since the September 11th terrorist attacks in 2001. There's a growing concern that many of them should be getting counseling, when they come home.

Romeo Horvath spent a year in Iraq. When he left in 2004 his war experiences came home with him.

"If we would have traveled a little more slower, then it might have hit us directly and I could have been dead. Or many instances to this day, when I go to sleep I wake up and say oh yeah, I remember that one," said Horvath.

One out of every four reservists returning from Iraq is diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder.

Romeo is getting help for his PTSD through the VA Hospital, but therapists across the nation are offering their services as well.

The Coming Home Project founded it the Bay Area is encouraging qualified therapists to give a returning vet at least an hour a week of free counseling as long as they need it.

Dr. David Marcus from the Silicon Valley Psychotherapy Center visited an online forum on Monday, sponsored by the project. It focused on treating war vets suffering from trauma.

"It seems incredibly important to support these men and women who put their lives on he line for us and to really show they are not alone. They are not going to come back to some isolated shame state, but a place where your embraced and helped out to the best of everyone's ability," said Dr. Marcus.

The VA Palo Alto Health Center says it stands ready to help any veteran who needs mental health services, but supports community based efforts to do the same.

"I think that there is a continent of veterans who perhaps feel more comfortable going into a community type of environment rather than an institutional type of environment," said Kerri Childress from the VA Palo Alto Health Care System.

Romeo Horvath got the help he needed to resume a normal life. Sadly, he knows many of his fellow vets, some of them friends who are still hiding in a lonely place.

"To this day, they haven't gotten help and they are worse off, a lot of them are divorced and that type of thing. I'm just glad I took the initial steps to get help fast," said Horvath.

The sooner a vet gets help, the better the chances are for healing. Now more than ever, vets have more places to turn.

www.cominghomeproject.net

Here's a list of other resources:
www.americasupportsyou.mil
www.seamlesstransition.va.gov
www.USAtogether.org
www.rebuildhope.org


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