Veterans living in Georgia could be some of the initial people to partake in the country’s first state-run, sub-acute rehab program. Georgia’s governor, Nathan Deal, stated earlier this month that the goal of the state is to provide treatment to veterans, as opposed to having them turn to federal or private programming options. While all plans to launch this initiative are ready, funding is required for it to take flight. Approximately $6 million in bonds that would go towards renovating the Georgia War Veterans Home in Milledgeville is now being allocated to fund this new sub-acute treatment center.
Currently, Gov. Deal is awaiting funding to be approved for this project sometime this year, and renovations themselves are slated to take a year to complete. This would mean that this program would be available to current veterans and those who will be coming home from overseas in the next two years, as early as 2019.
With the goal of taking care of their own, Georgia is leading the way in a new approach that is geared towards finally providing the effective, attainable treatment that our country’s veterans need upon coming home.
What Challenges are Veterans Facing Today?
It comes as no surprise that men and women returning home from war are facing more significant trauma and bodily injury than many of our troops in the past, as the wars we are engaged in are non-conventional in comparison.
Most commonly, war veterans are grappling with posttraumatic stress disorder, or PTSD, after they have served. According to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, 11%-20% of those who served in Operations Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom suffered/suffer from PTSD. During the Gulf War, 12% grappled with this condition, and nearly 30% of those who served in the Vietnam War developed this condition as well.
PTSD is a significantly life-altering mental health condition that can include intrusive thoughts, flashbacks, detachment from one’s surroundings, and hypervigilance. Many individuals who are not receiving treatment for PTSD can also begin to experience symptoms of depression and anxiety, as well as suicidal tendencies and an increased likelihood of substance abuse.
The renovations being proposed by Gov. Deal for a new sub-acute treatment center will not only address those veterans with PTSD, but also those vets who have suffered traumatic brain injuries and those who now have amputated limbs. Traumatic brain injuries can easily cause changes in an individual’s physical functioning, cognition, and behaviors. These changes can be highly detrimental to the individual and his or her loved ones, and in many cases, traumatic brain injuries require professional attention in order to be properly cared for.
The new center would also help veterans who have amputated limbs learn to cope with the challenges that come with not being able-bodied in the same way they were before their injuries. It is not uncommon for veterans who have suffered a loss such to turn to the abuse of substances to cope in response to their experiences. This center would aid in helping veterans properly manage these issues in a healthy manner.
The Need for Treatment for Georgia’s Veterans
Throughout the country, there is an incredible need for more effective treatment options for war veterans, including within the state of Georgia. Currently, there are more veterans grappling with conditions, such as those previously mentioned, than there is available care through places like the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. While there are three VA locations in Georgia, there are simply not enough resources available for citizens of the area.
The new sub-acute center would not limit admissions from any era of warfare, however, they do expect to see a majority of patients who have served in Iraq and Afghanistan. It has been reported by state officials that over 110,000 service members have deployed from Georgia to Iraq and Afghanistan since 2001 when the 9/11 terrorist attack occurred. Additionally, the Georgia National Guard states that between 2001 and 2012, approximately 38,205 veterans struggled with PTSD and traumatic brain injuries.
The need for care within the borders of Georgia is incredible. Despite the efforts that are currently put in place, it is simply not enough. Through the opening of this new center, Georgia could significantly help those who are in dire need of care upon returning home from war-torn countries. Additionally, the Peach State can serve to lead the rest of the nation in providing the care that America’s heroes truly need and deserve.
At Lakeview Behavioral Health, we understand the many needs that our veterans have upon returning home, and we are able to provide the necessary services they need to recover. If you or someone you love is in need of treatment for a condition such as PTSD, please do not hesitate to reach out to us as soon as possible. We can help you forge a better tomorrow.