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2015-04-13 14:35:27
Combating the Stigma of PTSD in Veterans
April 1, 2015 (Jamaica, NY) — Memoirs of veterans suffering from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) have widely become a topic of discussion due in part to their depictions in recent films. While we are able to witness their accounts of PTSD for a few hours, many veterans have to live with the reality of this debilitating disorder for a lifetime. It is estimated that hundreds of thousands of veterans suffer from combat- related mental illnesses but only 23-40% seek professional help, because mental illness is sadly and often stigmatized.

In an effort to combat this stigma The Psychiatric Department of Jamaica Hospital Medical Center in conjunction with the New York State Psychiatric Association and the Queens District Branch of the American Psychiatric Association will be hosting the Veteran’s Mental Health Primary Care Training Initiative on April 2nd from 11:30 a.m. -1:30 p.m. The event aims to educate and train health care professionals on the best practices for treating mental disorders such as PTSD and traumatic brain injuries linked to PTSD among returning combat veterans.

Additionally the department of psychiatry plans to use the event as a platform to bring attention the increasing rates of substance abuse and suicide among veterans. The negative perceptions associated with mental illness can sometimes lead veterans to believe that they are weak or should be ashamed of seeking professional help. In order to cope with the complications of mental illness, some veterans may self-medicate by using alcohol or narcotics and in extreme cases commit suicide.

Jamaica Hospital is dedicated in building programs to increase awareness of these disorders and heighten sensitivity when treating veterans. Several staff members of the hospital such as Dr. Richard Pinsker, are also veterans and believe the training initiative is vital. “Attitudes towards PTSD and other mental illnesses are shifting in a positive direction; many are recognizing that the emotional and mental wounds can be as detrimental to our vets as the physical,” said Pinsker. He continues, “Veterans are very appreciative when others take the time to care.”

Jamaica Hospital Medical Center serves a population greater than 1.2 million in Queens and eastern Brooklyn. This 424-bed medical center is an accredited community teaching hospital with a large network of community-based ambulatory care centers. JHMC offers an array of acute inpatient, rehabilitation and mental health services, and is one of the busiest Level 1 trauma centers in New York City. The hospital provides general medical, pediatric and Ob/Gyn services. Jamaica Hospital Medical Center’s mission is to serve patients and the community in a way that is second to none. For additional information, please contact Public Affairs at 718-206-6020.

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