PTSD and TBI treatment that works

PTSD and TBI treatment that works ‏ Mike Helm American Legion National Commander Dear Legion Family Members and Friends, In 2014, The American Legion conducted a survey of more than 3,000 veterans struggling with post-traumatic stress disorder or traumatic brain injury. The results were shocking. Nearly 60 percent of respondents felt no improvement as a result of their VA treatment plans. Another 30 percent said they terminated their plans because they did not work. This is not effective treatment. Through countless interactions with veterans and families who deal with PTSD and TBI every day, The American Legion knows that no two cases are the same. No magic pill is going to heal these wounds. Different treatments, some of which are not recognized by VA, have to be provided. Not just pills. Alternative therapies provide more than hope. They provide real solutions for veterans and their families. Right now, however, the dominant treatment program is drug-based. In the next few years, 1.5 million service members will discharge, up to a third of whom will deal with PTSD. Our nation must prepare for them with something more, and more effective, than another prescription. Improved treatment for PTSD, TBI and Military Sexual Trauma are among the key issues identified in The American Legion’s Legislative Priorities for the 114th Congress. I testified this week before a joint session of the House and Senate Committees on Veterans’ Affairs, and lawmakers are in full agreement that we all must do better on this front. I add this issue as one category under the bigger challenge for all of us: transition assistance. Those who are about to leave the service and new veterans alike report that they are poorly prepared for the jump to civilian life. Education, training, employment counseling, business opportunities are all among my highest priorities for the 114th Congress. Other concerns for veterans in transition, of course, are the continuing backlog of VA benefits and inconsistent ability to access VA health-care facilities. I ask you to look over the Legislative Priorities for the 114th Congress and take time to contact your elected representative and push for improvements. It’s the least we can do for this generation of new veterans who have done such a phenomenal job of keeping foreign terror from our shores since 9/11. For God and Country, Mike Helm National Commander