Help Exist for Veterans struggling with PTSD

Dayana Plaisime, Editor

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According to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), the suicide rate amongst veterans is 22 percent higher than nonveterans.  This came from the VA’s comprehensive examination of suicide data – 55 million records from 1979 to 2014.

VA Secretary Dr. David J. Shulkin called the findings “deeply concerning.”

These findings may be particularly relevant for students at Park University. The school operates at 35 military installations and serves many active-duty military members and veterans. So how can the issue of suicide among veterans be addressed?

Peggy Tice, a registered nurse and the director for Veterans Affairs of Eastern Kansas Healthcare System, said that VA services are offered to every service member prior to their discharge.

“The biggest hurdle we have at the VA is getting the recently discharged veteran to come in for services,” she said.

In 2013, the Iraq & Afghanistan Veterans of America Survey concluded that 30 percent of all veterans have thoughts of suicide. For many, these dangerous thoughts stem from post-traumatic stress disorder.

The U.S Department of Veterans Affairs estimated that 31 percent of Vietnam veterans, 10 percent of Gulf War veterans, 11 percent of veterans who fought in Afghanistan and 20 percent of Iraqi War suffer from PTSD.

“PTSD is an anxiety disorder,” Tice said. “The diagnostic criteria from DSM5: DSM-5 Criteria for PTSD the full copyrighted criteria are available from the American Psychiatric Association.”

Those criteria include exposure to death, violence or trauma; reliving the traumatic event; avoiding trauma-related stimuli; being bothered by excessive negative thoughts or feelings; constantly blames oneself or others.

There are many resources available for veterans who are at risk or who have had thoughts of suicide.

They may use the Veterans Crisis Line: call 1-800-237-8255 and press 1 or text 838255. The is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year.

Alternatively, call the United States Department of Veterans Affairs at 1(800)-827-1000. If it’s an emergency call: 1-(877)-927-8387.

For students at Park University, the Warrior Center in Thompson Commons and the counseling center in Deering Hall are available to help.



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Student newspaper of Park University
Help Exist for Veterans struggling with PTSD