By Chris Adams
Two top officials from the Department of Veterans Affairs described one of the nation’s most-pressing – and growing – mental health problems: providing care for both the older Vietnam vets and the younger Iraq and Afghanistan cohorts.
Dr. Terence Keane is director of the Behavioral Science Division of the VA’s National Center for PTSD, or post-traumatic stress disorder, based out of VA Boston. Dr. Harold Kudler is chief consultant for the VA’s Office of Mental Health, based in Washington.
One hot-button issue, covered extensively, is the rash of veteran suicides. In 2014, Kudler said, an average of 20 veterans died from suicide each day. That year, veterans accounted for 18 percent of all deaths from suicide among U.S. adults, although they only make up 8.5 percent of the U.S. population.
“We’re certainly over-represented among people committing suicide,” Kudler said.