Posts Tagged ‘Veterans Mental Health’

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.

Road To a Healthy Mind Starts At The VFW’s Bar

Monday, January 31st, 2011

There are thousands upon thousands of veterans in need of Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) medical and mental health care programs. For one reason or another, however, the VA cannot reach these veterans. Other veterans are completely unaware of the help the VA can offer and still others simply refuse to seek out the help they need. If the VA cannot get the veterans to come to them, the VA will go to the veterans.

The best way to get information to people is through a medium in which they trust. A new study suggests for many veterans, one of the best ways mediums may be through their local, neighborhood Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) bartender. Many bartenders have more access more often to veterans than their family members and they have this access in an environment where the veterans are comfortable opening up to them about their problems in ways they won’t with their families.

Bartenders may be in the best position to get a feel for the mental state of the veterans they come into contact with on a regular basis. In theory, those bartenders could then point the veterans to VA health professionals. While certainly not trained to the level of being a health professional, the training these bartenders would have to undergo would give them a basic feel for what to look for in at-risk veterans and what VA programs might be helpful.

The study focused on VFW bartenders because the VFW is an environment with many veterans who are regular customers. Of the bartenders surveyed as part of the study, many felt very close to their regular customers. With such close relationships, suggestions from “friends” about searching out help may be much more effective than anything else.

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.

New Families At Ease Program Helps Veterans Through Their Families

Tuesday, January 4th, 2011

The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) developed a new program to help veterans by educating their families on how to help the veteran at home. The Families At Ease program attempts to help veterans get the help they need through their family members and friends.

There are many reasons why veterans don’t receive the help they need. For starters, many of them don’t recognize they need help, so they don’t seek it out. Others know they need help, but refuse to seek  treatment because of either the stigma attached to it, or their symptoms actually prevent them from being able to go out and get help. Enter the Families At Ease program.

When veterans are suffering, their family members are intimately familiar with their problems. Although family members want to be a positive influence for their veteran, often they do not know how to approach doing so. The Families At Ease initiative provides information on accessing VA programs and facilities to the veterans’ families so they can help connect their loved one with the services and treatments available through the VA.

Family members are a good intermediary between the VA and the veteran as far as motivating the veteran to go into the VA for help. The program also coaches family members on how to talk to their veterans and let them know help is available without coming across as forceful or threatening.

The program has seen positive results from the roughly 50 families and veterans involved so far. Now that the Families At Ease has proven to be a successful program locally, and will now be moved to the national stage.

Learn more about the VA’s Families At Ease program and how it is helping families help veterans.

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.

Veterans With TBIs Get Help From Tampa Smart House

Tuesday, December 28th, 2010

The Tampa, Florida Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Hospital has developed what may be the next great step in treating traumatic brain injuries (TBIs). For an investment of $3 million, the VA hospital has developed a “smart home.” The smart home helps patients with TBIs learn to live independently in their daily lives by helping them perform basic, everyday tasks.

For many veterans with TBIs, basic, everyday tasks like doing the laundry or emptying the trash can become extremely difficult. The smart home will re-train those veterans unable to complete such necessary and basic tasks, and slowly build them back into being able to function in normal society. Veterans are tracked around the home and when they fall off course from what they are supposed to be doing, e.g., emptying the trash, they will be sent either a text or video message prompting them to get back on track.

The Tampa VA Hospital currently houses 10 veterans in 5 apartments. The Tampa VA Hospital also furnishes the apartments, including all the necessary technology to allow the smart house to function properly . The necessary equipment includes not only the system used to track the veterans around the apartment, but monitors attached to appliances, and screens used for the video prompts.

Every apartment has appliances with attached monitors able to sense if a specific task related to that appliance was correctly performed. If it wasn’t properly performed, the house sends an alert to the veteran to put them back on task. With a primary goal of getting veterans back up to speed and able to function outside of the hospital, the smart home is a good starting point.

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.