Friday, December 12, 2014

VA split up PTSD veteran peer support group on purpose?

Veterans are stronger together but the VA in Cape Coral just split up a group of 10 veterans.

Tell Mel: Vets with PTSD say Cape VA clinic kicked them out
News Press By Melanie Payne
December 11, 2014

No doubt the 10 men who were booted out of the Veterans Administration Healthcare Center in Cape Coral were treated shabbily. These guys are combat veterans who fought in Korea, Vietnam, Iraq and Afghanistan. They all suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder or PTSD, a mental disorder that can develops following a terrifying events like those that happen in war.

Every Friday for the past 18 months the men have held their support group at the VA Clinic offices. And they wanted to continue those meetings there with their current group leaders.

The VA has a different idea. It wants one of two peer specialists, employees who are certified mental health professionals, to help run the group; something the members of this PTSD support group have refused to allow.

The current group leader is a trained volunteer, Luis Casilla. A 63-year-old Vietnam vet, Casilla is a trained peer specialist with more than a decade of experience.

"They don't want to associate with these guys," Casilla said the PTSD support group members have told him. The VA's specialists haven't had PTSD. "They don't trust them. They want keep our group. But (the VA) wants to do it their way."

The change is being dictated by a national policy, said spokesman Jason Dangel, a public affairs officers with the Bay Pines VA Healthcare System.
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