The state veterans commission urges testing for post-traumatic stress disorder of every service member who comes back from battle zones, whether they stay in the military or leave it.
Sometimes post-traumatic stress disorder can take years or decades to manifest itself. A Rand Corporation study suggests 300-thousand American troops who’ve served in Afghanistan or Iraq suffer from PTSD or major depression.
Ombudsman Pat Rowe Kerr with the state veterans commission thinks the number of cases is on the rise in Missouri although she does not have raw numbers. And she says Defense Department numbers are probably too low. She says DOD figures show 93 percent of the Army and 97 percent of the Marines are exposed to small arms fire, mortar attack, or roadside bombs. But she says the incidents of PTSD or minor traumatic brain injury could be higher than the department thinks, based on those statistics.
She says it’s an injury, not a mental health disorder…and tests need to be run on all service members who’ve been in combat areas to find those who need help. She says there are numerous programs for them.