NAMI Launches Veterans Resource Center on Mental Health; Online
Nov 06 2007
Arlington, VA—The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) has established an online Veterans Resource Center www.nami.org/veterans to help support active duty military personnel, veterans and their families facing serious mental illnesses such as depression, posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and schizophrenia.
"We are a nation at war," said NAMI executive director Michael J. Fitzpatrick. "The war includes mental illness. Many veterans who return from active duty face a second war at home, confronting profound mental health problems. Their families also are affected."
The Center’s resources include a growing compilation of fact sheets, self-help information, online discussion groups, research and policy updates, and links to government agencies and other private organizations. NAMI has made the Center a priority to meet a growing need.
- Almost a third of veterans returning from Afghanistan and Iraq confront mental health problems. In 2006, the suicide rate in the Army reached its highest level in 26 years.
- Approximately 30% of veterans treated in the Veterans health system suffer from depressive symptoms, two to three times the rate of the general population.
- Earlier this year, the chairman of the Veterans Affairs Committee of the U.S. House of Representatives told NAMI’s annual convention that more Vietnam veterans have now died from suicide than the 55,000 who were killed directly during the war in the 1960s and 70s.
- Approximately 40% of homeless veterans have mental illnesses. Approximately 57% of this group are African American or Hispanic veterans.
- Families of soldiers deployed in Afghanistan or Iraq face increasing pressures from repeated and longer tours of duty. Unlike civilian suicide rates, greater numbers of young soldiers are taking their own lives, with broken relationships or marriages considered to be factors.
"The human toll of any war is felt for years to come," Fitzpatrick said. "NAMI hopes to expand the Center’s resources over time and provide whatever support we can through our other programs." The Center’s resources are organized into 12 on-line categories:
- Posttraumatic Stress Disorders
- Traumatic Brain Injury
- Suicide Prevention
- Veterans & Mental Illnesses
- Public Policy and Legislation
- Veterans Affairs and Veterans Integrated Service Network (VISN)
- Families, Children and Spouses
- Women Veterans Resources
- Multicultural Resources
- Homelessness & NAMI’s Missing Person’s Network
- NAMI Veterans Council
- Online Discussion Groups
# # #