Friday, December 9, 2011

Helping veterans who have suffered traumatic brain injuries

Our veterans don't simply put their lives on hold for our country. In many cases, these men and women who volunteered to stand in harm's way for us put their very lives on the line
Tragically and all too often, however, a huge need goes unanswered for some of these injured warriors now struggling mightily to endure traumatic brain injuries (TBI). 

These injuries are very difficult to treat and manage because afflicted individuals might actually feel some kind of normal on the inside. And yet, they have to work terribly hard carving out a new life and overcoming severely curtailed physical abilities on the outside.
Aimed at strengthening services for combat veterans as well as other people enduring TBI is House Bill 1614, which was passed and signed into law earlier this year. 
The Washington TBI Strategic Partnership Advisory Council is working with the Department of Social and Health Services to develop and monitor a statewide, comprehensive plan addressing the needs of TBI patients.
A recent Seattle Weekly article -- "VA Staffers Say They Can't Meet Demand for Soldiers' Mental Health Care" (Dec. 8, 2011) -- reveals a dreadful canyon, the vast ravine between services needed and services received. The Obama administration notes that more than 30,000 troops will be coming home from Afghanistan by the end of next year. 
That's wonderful news in anybody's book, and especially wonderful when joined up with thousands of their comrades in arms coming home from Iraq. The huge question looms, though: Are we, and most pointedly, is the Veterans Administration prepared for the enormous and inevitable population of trauma and PTSD cases?

To read this blog post in Spanish, go here.