AUGUSTA, Ga. — Mental health administrators at the Charlie Norwood VA want local veterans to know they’re here to help.
The hospital held a mental health summit on Wednesday to discuss tough topics like suicide prevention, PTSD and homelessness in the veteran community.
“Mental health has always been one of those taboo things for military soldiers to talk about,” said William Campbell, a mental health administrator with the VA.
Close to 100 people showed up to the summit, where local experts addressed questions and spoke about how they want to help veterans. The goal of the summit was the increase communication — and according to administrators at the VA, it’s working.
In fact, communication is getting better than ever before, said Campbell.
“A lot of it is due to our current veterans, the Desert Storm, the Iraqi and Afghanistan veterans,” he said. “Now that the onus is on PTSD,, now we can go back and take care of those other veterans that pretty much didn’t get the same care. There was a lot more of [a stigma] for those Vietnam veterans, those Korean veterans, those World War II veterans.”
Removing the stigma is the first step to getting veterans help, Campbell said.
“More and more we’re having veterans come in,” Campbell said.