VA Hopes Gilroy Headlines Won’t Prevent Veterans From Seeking PTSD Treatment

PALO ALTO (KCBS) — The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs is hoping Thursday’s murder-suicide involving an Iraq War vet does not discourage vets with post traumatic stress disorder to seek treatment.

The VA also said people shouldn’t assume those who suffer from PTSD are violent. More than 400,000 veterans sought treatment for the disorder in the past year.

Kerry Childress with the VA Palo Alto Health Care System said those who experience combat are forever changed, but the ones who develop PTSD can be helped through counseling.

KCBS’ Margie Shafer Reports:

Childress said she hopes the headlines from Gilroy do not put off those who need help.

“When these types of tragic events happen and [are] associated with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, it’s even tougher for veterans to get over that stigma that we have in our culture of going for mental health care,” Childress said.

>>No Sign Of Gilroy Mother After Iraq Vet Murder-Suicide

She notes employers can become reluctant to hire, but the vast majority of PTSD sufferers do not turn violent.

Symptoms include; an inability to sleep, increased substance abuse, and inability to relate to loved ones and concentrate.

“Every American citizen owes our veterans a great debt, particularly those who served in combat,” Childress added.

Childress noted treatment of PTSD is primarily aimed at helping veterans keep a family and job intact, and stopping substance abuse.

For the past two years, the VA also offers treatment to the families of veterans.

(Copyright 2012 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

More from Margie Shafer

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