Resource for articles on veterans and mental healthcare
(Posted on November 11, 2011)
For journalists reporting on the mental healthcare challenges of veterans, please consider as a resource Fairfield University Professor Doris Troth Lippman, Ed.D., a Vietnam veteran who helps oversee the School of Nursing's 'VA Nursing Academy.'
Dr. Lippman, who served as a nurse in the United States Army Nurse Corps from 1967 to 1968, helps instruct nursing students doing clinical rotations at the VA Connecticut HealthCare System in West Haven, Connecticut. An expert in post-traumatic stress disorder, Dr. Lippman was honored by the state of Connecticut last year for her work on behalf of veterans. A Fairfield graduate, she served as vice chair of the Vietnam Women's Memorial in Washington, D.C.
Below she offers her thoughts on how returning soldiers of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars are faring on the home front:
"When I returned home, I, like my fellow returning veterans, was met with scorn, anger and blame," noted Lippman. "Fortunately, that has changed over time and Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom veterans coming home today are often greeted with yellow ribbons and gratefulness.
"Unfortunately, many come home to no jobs, no homes, and often broken relationships," she said. "The more tragic fact in my opinion, however, is that many of these courageous and heroic women and men choose to commit suicide. The startling fact is that for returning veterans, the rate of deaths by suicide is higher than combat-related deaths. So many suicides happen while soldiers are deployed, which I don't know if people are aware of."
"As a veteran myself, I believe that as a country, we need to find ways to welcome home our brave soldiers not only with thank yous, but also with opportunities ... opportunities to find jobs, homes, and whatever other services they need," she continued. "It seems to me, what we are currently doing is not working."
"What also troubles me personally is that of those important services for veterans, mental healthcare is vital," said Lippman. "There is a mental health crisis in the United States that will impact veterans and their families for years and years to come. There will soon be an influx of soldiers coming home over the next few months from Iraq. What we need to do as a country is to turn our attention toward addressing the significant need for more mental healthcare givers outside hospital settings. They are crucial. They will be vital toward providing the long-term follow-up care that these men and women will need in the long run of their lives."
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Vol. 44, No. 120