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Psychiatrists offer soldiers free service

Many feel that much more needs to be done
May 25, 2008 12:00:00 AM PDT
The military has some 20,000 full- and part-time professionals offering health care services, but veterans groups and health care experts say that's not enough to cope with what they describe as a mental health crisis resulting from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. The Pentagon says it has on about 1,400 mental health professionals among its active-duty military personnel. So, it has been trying to hire private psychiatrists, psychologists, social workers and counselors, or borrowing them from other agencies.

Many are offering their services for free. One retired Army general who is also a psychiatrist says the Pentagon and the Veterans Affairs are doing a lot, but the need "goes far beyond" what any government agency can do.

According to a recent private study, an estimated 300,000 veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan are estimated to have anxiety or post-traumatic stress. That's compounded by the needs of family members dealing with the long or repeated tours of duty of active personnel.


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