Mental Health

Erin Toner

Monday, we reported on a one-year-old clinic in West Allis treating a growing number of veterans with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. Some say they’re seeking outside therapy because they’re dissatisfied with their VA health care. This morning, WUWM’s Erin Toner revisits the clinic to report on another free service it provides – mental health services for the families of veterans. Family members don’t qualify for care at VA hospitals.

Erin Toner

An alarming number of suicides among American soldiers has/have been pressuring the VA to improve mental health services for veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. As a result, the U.S. Veterans Affairs Department plans to add nearly 2,000 employees to reduce wait times for appointments. In Milwaukee, a growing number of vets dissatisfied with the VA have been supplementing their government care with therapy at an outside clinic. As WUWM’s Erin Toner reports, it offers a less structured approach.

The Milwaukee VA is shortening its residential mental health treatment programs. Doctors there say the shortened stay from 90 to 45 days will mean more intense treatment and will make it easier for veterans to transition back into society sooner.

But as Erin Toner reported for NPR’s Morning Edition, some patients say getting clean and sober is just the first step in their recovery. They worry about being pushed out too soon.