Letter from the Chairman- PTSD Awareness Month, Our Duty to Support Veterans in Need
June is Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) Awareness Month, a campaign dedicated to bring attention to a mental health disorder that disproportionally affects Veterans. PTSD can be difficult for their family and friends to understand as those affected by PTSD may experience a wide array of symptoms that significantly impact their daily lives. From flashbacks of traumatic combat experiences to feelings of social isolation or even difficulty feeling positive emotions, the impact of PTSD can be significant, and in some cases debilitating.
Veterans are at a greater risk of developing mental health issues like PTSD due to their exposure to the dangers and stress of military life. For those experiencing PTSD, the condition can also point to a greater risk of suicide.
According to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), in Texas, as many as 514 Veterans died by suicide in 2019 alone, and the 2021 National Suicide Prevention Annual Report by the VA found that Veterans in 2019 reflected a suicide rate 52.3% higher than non-Veterans. These staggering statistics illustrate just how disproportionally Veterans are affected by mental health issues.
To end these tragic losses, we must do more to address Veterans’ mental health issues. Part of this process involves reaching out to those in need and working to destigmatize these conditions to help ensure that Veterans who are struggling do not do so in silence.
Fortunately, as we learn more about PTSD and suicide prevention methods, there have been several critical improvements at a national level that will undoubtedly improve the lives of our heroes in need of mental health care. Starting July 16th, the National Suicide Prevention Hotline will begin using a three-digit dialing code, “988.” This new number, available through calling or texting, will not only be a resource for Veterans, but for all Americans seeking help for their mental health needs. This change marks a vital step towards making mental health care and suicide prevention more accessible.
Our team at the VLB is proud to join in the effort to connect Veterans with health care resources through the VA and other organizations who are a part of our expansive Veteran peer network. Whether at a benefits fair, or through our unique therapy treatments offered at our Veterans homes, we are always happy to lend a hand to a Veteran in need.
By raising awareness about PTSD and breaking down the stigma connected to mental health disorders, we will help ensure no Veteran feels alone and that they have somewhere to turn to for help.
It is our honor and duty to support those who have fought for us.
God Bless Texas,
George P. Bush, Chairman Texas Veterans Land Board