The U.S. military is trying to encourage service members and veterans to seek treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder. The military is also seeking to remove any sense of stigma for receiving treatment. Here, military personnel attend a presentation on PTSD at Fort Hamilton Army Garrison in Brooklyn, N.Y., in 2009.
The military and the Department of Veterans Affairs say they want more veterans and service members to get appropriate treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD.
That's why they're tweaking the way they define and treat PTSD. But if this approach works, it could add to the backlog of PTSD cases.
For years, the standard definition for post-traumatic stress disorder had a key feature that didn't fit for the military. It said that the standard victim responds to the trauma he or she has experienced with "helplessness and fear."
Over the past five years, the Department of Veterans Affairs says, the number of former service members seeking mental health services has climbed by a third. In response, the agency has boosted funding and tightened standards.
A picture from his time in Vietnam. Ralph Bozella is president of the United Veterans Committee of Colorado, a nonprofit organization of more than 45 organizations helping Colorado’s estimated 460,000 veterans.
Credit Ralph Bozella
When Ralph Bozella came home from Vietnam in 1972, he was happy he’d survived and was ready to get on with life.