Posts Tagged ‘Veterans Mental Health’

Veterans’ Mental Health: Recruitment Helping Fill 1,900 VA Positions

Friday, June 15th, 2012

According to Veterans News Now, earlier this year Department of Veterans’ Affairs (VA) Secretary Eric K. Shinseki announced that the VA will be hiring 1,600 mental health clinicians and 300 support staff in an effort to improve mental health care at hospitals and clinics across the U.S. To help reach this goal, the Veterans Health Administration (VHA) has developed a rapid recruitment program to fill these jobs.

The VHA is targeting their efforts in the regions where the need for mental health care is the most critical as in more rural regions. Using professional recruiters, who are themselves veterans, will ensure that those hired are adequately meeting the needs of veterans. Coupled with an aggressive marketing campaign, the VA anticipates they can complete the majority of hires within six months. More complex positions will be covered by the fall of 2013.

The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has been struggling with low staff numbers in their mental health service clinics and departments at VA hospitals. Despite new remote counseling services that the Telehealth system is providing to veterans unable to travel for care, many disabled veterans struggle alone with their anxiety and emotional disorders.

With the increased mental health professionals on staff, there will hopefully be more resources available to serve veterans who suffer from mental conditions, such as post-traumatic stress disorder, qualifying them for veterans’ disability. The VA’s goal is not just to meet current demands but also to anticipate what future disabled veterans will need.

If you are a disabled veteran who has been denied disability compensation or have not yet applied for benefits from the VA, a South Florida disability attorney from LaVan & Neidenberg is ready to help. To learn if you are entitled to certain programs and benefits contact our veteran’s disability rights firm today 1-888-234-5758.

VA Hospitals: 20% Vacancy Rates Reported for Psychiatrists

Monday, April 9th, 2012

Recent reviews of the staffing at many hospitals and clinics supported by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) have shown a serious shortage of psychiatrists available to attend to veterans with mental conditions.

The VA reports that there’s a 15% national vacancy rate for mental health professionals at VA run hospitals and clinics. This number is as high as 20% in some areas, such as the northwest and south. In September 2011, it was determined that 266 psychiatrists needed to be hired at VA facilities across the U.S. to meet increasing demands, yet the hiring process was taking an average of 8 months to complete.

This news is concerning to many disabled veterans who are seeking diagnosis and treatment for common mental health disorders connected to their military service. Many veterans are waiting weeks, even months for evaluation or treatment for conditions, such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), which is diagnosed to 10,000 veterans every 3 months.

Applying and qualifying for veterans’ disability benefits is an important step in becoming eligible for mental health treatment through the VA hospitals. A veteran who’s experiencing symptoms of a mental disorder should get in touch with a veterans’ disability attorney to learn about their right to evaluation and treatment for their condition, even if it may take some time to obtain service from a VA psychiatrist.

If you are a disabled veteran who has been denied disability compensation or have not yet applied for benefits from the VA, a South Florida disability attorney from LaVan & Neidenberg is ready to help. To learn if you are entitled to certain programs and benefits contact our veteran’s disability rights firm today  1-888-234-5758.

 

Mental Health Issues Evaluated in Drone Pilots

Wednesday, March 21st, 2012

Drone pilots are part of the latest soldier populations to be evaluated for issues regarding soldiers’ mental health, during deployment. The role of drone pilots may seem safe from physical hazards, but the schedules, remote combat exposure, and emotional situations these soldiers are placed in can create mental hazards instead.

Soldiers involved in the drone aircraft programs fill a variety of roles, but the conditions are similar: long hours staring at computer screens where they witness combat from thousands of miles away with little or no ability to react. While most of a drone pilots’ duties involve surveillance and little enemy attack, they must bear witness to the attacks involving the ground troops.

In recent evaluations by the Air Force, drone pilots may often feel a sense of helplessness when they see ground troops in active combat and can’t intervene to help. Many reported emotional turmoil when they had to survey battle zones for casualty reports.

Facing these difficult emotional situations, during active duty, can lead to future long-term damage to a soldiers’ mental health. While the Air Force is helping current soldiers cope, by offering better access to psychologists and chaplains, for recent Iraq and Afghanistan War veterans the damage may already have been done.

Psychological disabilities are among the many conditions that may qualify veterans for disability benefits. It’s necessary to have mental health evaluations and evidence to support your claim, which an attorney can help you with.

If you are a disabled veteran who has been denied disability compensation or have not yet applied for benefits from the VA, a South Florida disability attorney from LaVan & Neidenberg is ready to help. To learn if you are entitled to certain programs and benefits contact our veteran’s disability rights firm today 1-888-234-5758.

Veterans Crisis Line Expands Services and Collaboration Efforts

Wednesday, February 29th, 2012

Since July 2007, the Veterans Crisis Line, an initiative started through the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), has helped field over 500,000 calls from veterans in need of crisis support. Over 18,000 serious cases have been handled by the team of responders, helping many troubled and disabled veterans find the help they need during these critical times.

To continue this positive outreach to veterans, and their friends and families, the VA is extending their services beyond the traditional telephone number and creating new collaborative efforts with like-minded organizations.

The technological advances include text messing services that allow veterans in need to confidentially text their concerns to responders at 83-8255 and receive immediate support 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. The texts are answered by trained VA professionals, many of whom are U.S. veterans, offering a more personal connection to crisis management.

In addition to the texting service, the voice call line has now extended toll-free service for the Europe military community. The new 0800-1273-8255 number will provide toll-free access to the same U.S.-based crisis help line that the current 800-273-8255 number offers.

A third enhancement to the Veterans Crisis Line is the collaboration with Vets Prevail and Vets4Warriors, 2 groups that utilize similar efforts to reach out to veterans in need of crisis support and resources. Both organizations will begin routing calls for mental health crisis to the VA’s lines.

If you are a disabled veteran who has been denied disability compensation or have not yet applied for benefits from the VA, a South Florida disability attorney from LaVan & Neidenberg is ready to help. To learn if you are entitled to certain programs and benefits contact our veteran’s disability rights firm today 1-888-234-5758.

Recent Purple Heart Disabled Veterans Dealing with Memories of War

Thursday, February 23rd, 2012

None of Afghanistan War veterans who received the Purple Heart in a ceremony at the Marine Corps. Memorial on Thursday, February 16 were willing to discuss their fallen Marines.

The 4 Marines that received the Purple Heart were members of Company B, 1st Battalion, 6th Marine Regiment, under the command of Capt. Paul Trembaly, who lost 2 Marines and had to medically evacuate 16 wounded, during their 7-month tour.

Trembaly realized the difficulties his remaining crew had in dealing with the losses they witnessed during their deployment. As part of a therapeutic effort he had the remaining 170 Marines of Company B flown to Bethesda, MD to visit their fellow wounded soldiers who were undergoing recovery at the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center.

The visit was therapeutic for both the active Marines and the wounded warriors they visited. Seeing that their own were being well taken care of was a relief to those who had to see soldiers removed from duty due to serious combat injuries.

Reluctance to discuss combat trauma and the emotions they may be experiencing after deployment is an issue many veterans face, which can often lead to the development of mental conditions. Depression, anxiety, uncontrolled anger, and night terrors are just a few of the symptoms that can develop when veterans are unable to cope with their military experience.

Many of these wounded Marines may face life as a disabled veteran following their recovery. Applying for veterans’ disability benefits is a way combat-wounded veterans can obtain help with finances, medical treatment, housing, employment, and much more.

If you are a disabled veteran who has been denied disability compensation or have not yet applied for benefits from the VA, a South Florida disability attorney from LaVan & Neidenberg is ready to help. To learn if you are entitled to certain programs and benefits contact our veteran’s disability rights firm today 1-888-234-5758.

Military Program Helping Veterans Transition to Civilian Life

Monday, January 23rd, 2012

Camp Pendleton’s 3rd Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment unit suffered some of the highest causalities due to heavy combat in Afghanistan, including 25 deaths, more than 150 injuries, and over a dozen traumatic amputation. Instead of bringing the unit back and releasing the members to fend for themselves, the Marine Corps required the remaining soldiers to remain at Camp Pendleton for 90 days for mental health evaluation and to help ease their transition back into civilian society.

In the 90-day “decompression” program, the soldiers were given the opportunity to hold a memorial for their fallen comrades, participate in social events, like barbeques and banquets, and learn how to communicate about their war experiences. The veterans will be monitored to see if the program has helped improve their mental health and prevent many of the problems faced by veterans coping with conditions like PTSD or anxiety disorders.

As more veterans have had to file for veterans’ disability due to PTSD and other mental health conditions related to combat experience, the military has increased its efforts to help soldiers both active and retired with psychological health care. If a veteran still suffers from these conditions, veterans disability benefits may be available to help.

If you are a disabled veteran who has been denied disability compensation or have not yet applied for benefits from the VA, a South Florida disability attorney from LaVan & Neidenberg is ready to help. To learn if you are entitled to certain programs and benefits contact our veteran’s disability rights firm today 1-888-234-5758.

20 New Mobile Vet Centers Expand Access to Counseling Services for Veterans

Tuesday, January 10th, 2012

On Wednesday, January 4, 20 new Mobile Vet Centers (MVCs) left the Farber Specialty Vehicles facility in Columbus, Ohio to travel to their new destinations across the country in order to help bring remote counseling services to veterans and their families in underserved areas.

The vehicles will be established in the following cities:

  • Atlanta, Ga.;
  • Baltimore, Md.;
  • Birmingham, Ala.;
  • Cedar Rapids, Iowa;
  • Evanston, Ill.;
  • Green Bay, Wis.;
  • Greensboro, N.C.;
  • Indianapolis, Ind.;
  • Jackson, Miss.;
  • Kansas City, Mo.;
  • Lawton, Okla.;
  • Lakewood, N.J.;
  • Nashville, Tenn.;
  • Ponce, Puerto Rico;
  • Pontiac, Mich.;
  • Reno, Nev.;
  • San Diego, Calif.;
  • Stark County, Ohio;
  • Washington County, Utah; and
  • Western Oahu, Hawaii.

Each MVC is equipped with a private counseling area and features equipment to facilitate video counseling sessions with remote professionals. The 50 MVCs already in operation have been able to bring mental health and family counseling to veterans and their families in areas that are either too far from a VA facility or are experiencing a heavy burden of cases.

The expanded access to veteran’s mental health services hopes to help improve the care and support of disabled veterans and help families cope with the stresses of returning to civilian life.

If you are a disabled veteran who has been denied disability compensation or have not yet applied for benefits from the VA, a South Florida disability attorney from LaVan & Neidenberg is ready to help. To learn if you are entitled to certain programs and benefits contact our veteran’s disability rights firm today 1-888-234-5758.

New Law Requires Mental and Emotional Health Screening for Veterans

Wednesday, January 4th, 2012

According to an article on Truthout, the Department of Defense (DoD) is readying itself in preparation to implement a “new safeguard” for U.S. veterans with mental and emotional health issues.

U.S. Veterans returning from combat will undergo “intensive screenings” designed to detect “mental and emotional” problems brought on by their deployments. According to recent studies, a soldier takes his or her own life every 36 hours.

A couple years ago Congress passed a law mandating every soldier undergo 3 different mental-health screenings within 2 years of returning from combat. This program was first implemented by the Montana National Guard, and proved very successful as a pilot program.

For the most part, the main concern is being able to detect post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). The Army has examined 400,000 troops without releasing any information as to the results yet. The DoD has added 3500 new health-care providers to its ranks to help examine combat veterans for “elevated stress levels.”

The new law required screenings be done individually every 6-months, which is how they were done in the Montana model, and not via paper questionnaire, which is how it had been done previously. Soldiers and veterans are given “personal, and private, one-on-one attention from a trained health-care provider” under the law, which includes 2-years of follow up assessments.

If you are a disabled veteran who has been denied disability compensation or have not yet applied for benefits from the VA, a South Florida disability attorney from LaVan & Neidenberg is ready to help. To learn if you are entitled to certain programs and benefits contact our veterans disability rights firm today 1-888-234-5758.

Homeless Emergency Project Adds New Facility

Wednesday, April 20th, 2011

The Homeless Emergency Project (HEP) is a non-profit homeless outreach group based out of Clearwater, Florida. The HEP is adding a new building on to their already established facility, which will focus on serving solely veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

 The $3.5 million facility will cover 3 acres, 2,500 square feet, and house 32 one-bedroom units. The Brendan MacDonald Fyfe Foundation is contributing approximately $800,000 toward the construction of the facility, which should open in Spring 2012.

The new facility will boast many unique features. The technology room will allow veterans the opportunity to stay in touch with family members or search for employment. Additionally, an activity director will be employed who will create programming focused on bringing veterans together with each other.

This new addition is only step 1 in an overall 5-year plan to expand the campus to cover 8 acres and host an additional 112 units. Every bit of the new facility will be dedicated to helping veterans with PTSD. In addition to veterans, the HEP helps their families and their children. In addition to emergency housing, the HEP offers transitional and permanent housing.

The HEP’s work helps the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) complete their mission. Offering case management, food, medical, dental, and job assistance helps veterans help themselves.

If you are a disabled veteran who has been denied disability compensation or have not yet applied for benefits from the VA, contact LaVan & Neidenberg. You may be entitled to certain programs and benefits so contact our veterans disability rights firm today.

Legislation Would Provide For PTSD Alert On License

Wednesday, March 9th, 2011

For many veterans and active-duty personnel with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) there are no blatant outward signs of the disorder. New legislation introduced by State Sen. Benjamin Downing (D-Pittsfield) of Massachusetts would provide veterans and active-duty personnel suffering from PTSD the ability to place a designation on their license alerting the viewer of the license holders’ PTSD diagnosis.

James Norchi is a Naval Vietnam Veteran, and urged Sen. Downing to introduce the legislation. Georgia passed a very similar law last year, yet only 5 veterans in the entire state of Georgia have requested the PTSD designation be placed on their license, according to Georgia authorities.

Just as is happening in Massachusetts, veterans groups adamantly objected to the legislation passing. Those groups believe the PTSD designation would only serve as fodder for people who may over-react to their PTSD status such as police officers and airport security screeners.

Downing believes the PTSD designator positively serves both the person suffering from PTSD as well as the person interacting with that individual as it may provide a heads up or an early warning of potential issues.

The fact remains there is still a strong stigma surrounding both PTSD, deserved or not. Active duty soldiers fear ruining their military careers and therefore do not want to draw any unwanted attention to possible negative aspects of their lives. As an alternative, it has been suggested soldiers be issued simple wallet cards they can produce when necessary instead of having the PTSD designation directly on their driver’s license.

If you are a disabled veteran who has been denied disability compensation or have not yet applied for benefits from the VA, contact LaVan & Neidenberg. You may be entitled to certain programs and benefits so contact our veterans disability rights firm today.