A year after the Department of Veterans Affairs launched its ambitious Choice Card Program, many still go without the care they need. An article in the San Antonio Express-News looks at the challenges facing rural veterans in Texas who use the Choice Card Program to seek private mental health care, only to find that they’ve swapped distance and wait time challenges for cultural barriers.
“What we saw is that most providers did not screen for military background,” said Terri Tanielian, a senior social research analyst with Rand Corp., a policy think tank in Santa Monica, California. “And a big reason for that is providers aren’t getting training in screening patients for military experience.”
This gap in experience, often referred to as the military-civilian divide, is particularly challenging for veterans seeking mental health services from civilian caregivers and mental health professionals.
A survey conducted by Rand Corp. last year revealed that less than 8% of psychiatrists, psychologists, social workers and licensed counselors had a high level of competency with military and veterans. Additionally, less than a third had received training in evidence-based treatments for combat trauma, compared to almost half of VA clinicians.
“If I don’t understand the difference between an enlisted soldier and an officer, if I don’t know what ‘the wire’ means … then it’s harder for a veteran to open up to me,” said San Antonio psychiatrist Harry Croft, who served as an Army psychiatrist in the 1970s and has evaluated thousands of veterans for post-traumatic stress as part of their application for VA disability benefits.
Benjamin Franklin nailed it when he said, "Fatigue is the best pillow." True story, Benny. There's nothing like pushing your body so far past exhaustion that you'd willingly, even longingly, take a nap on a concrete slab.
An AH-64D Longbow Apache helicopter lands during a combined arms demonstration as part of South Carolina National Guard Air & Ground Expo 2009 at McEntire Joint National Guard Base, S.C., Oct. 10, 2009. (U.S. Army/Sgt. Roberto Di Giovine)
Welcome to Confessions Of, an occaisional series where Task & Purpose's James Clark solicits hilarious, embarrassing, and revealing stories from troops and vets about their job, billet, or a tour overseas. Are you in an interesting assignment and think you might have something to share? Email firstname.lastname@example.org with your story.
"Nothing is more powerful than a young boy's wish. Except an Apache helicopter. An Apache helicopter has machine guns and missiles. It is an unbelievably impressive complement of weaponry, an absolute death machine."
James Jackson, right, confers with his lawyer during a hearing in criminal court, Wednesday, Jan. 23, 2019, in New York. Jackson, a white supremacist, pled guilty Wednesday to killing a black man with a sword as part of a racist plot that prosecutors described as a hate crime. He faces life in prison when he is sentenced on Feb. 13. (Associated Press/Bebeto Matthews)
White supremacist James Jackson – accused of trying to start a race war by killing a homeless black man in Times Square with a sword — pleaded guilty Wednesday to murder as an act of terrorism.
A soldier plugs his ears during a live fire mission at Yakima Training Center. Photo: Capt. Leslie Reed/U.S. Army
A Texas veteran is suing the company he says knowingly produced and sold defective earplugs which were issued to the U.S. military, leading him and many others to develop hearing problems, including tinnitus.