Veterans

Photo by Lauren Chapman / Indiana Public Broadcasting.

Representatives from an Indianapolis VA hospital, researchers and advocates gathered this week at WFYI to talk about access to mental health care for veterans, their caregivers and the barriers they may face. 

Lisa Gillespie/Side Effects Public Media

In 2011, Alex Randolph was in Iraq, in the middle of a tour of duty with the Army. What happened one evening would haunt him for years, and change the way his friends back home saw him. Those memories eventually led Randolph to think about killing himself.


VA To Offer Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy For Some Veterans With PTSD

Jan 20, 2018
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Jason Emery is sitting at the dining room table in his Greenfield, Indiana home. He takes one of his guitars off the wall and starts strumming the notes to a song he wrote. It's here that Emery finds solace.

PTSD Complicates End-Of-Life Care For Some Veterans

Dec 19, 2017
Steven Tom / Flickr

Ron Fleming is 74 now, but he's spent most of his life trying to recapture what life felt like when he was 21, fighting in Vietnam.


Seth Herald / for WOSU

On a fall morning, Gary Jones takes a walk in his wooded property in Licking County, Ohio. Like many people, long walks helps him to clear his head.

“So it’s all kind of a similar thing, it’s just a little exaggerated with, uh, post-traumatic stress,” Jones says.


American Legion Of Indiana Wants Medical Marijuana Legalized To Ease Vet Pain

Jan 16, 2017
Barbara Brosher/Indiana Public Media

The American Legion of Indiana passed a resolution Sunday calling on Congress to recognize marijuana as a drug with medical value and asking Indiana legislatures to develop a medical marijuana program.

Veterans Turn To Yoga To Help Treat PTSD

Aug 30, 2016
Jill Sheridan/WFYI

An estimated 8 million people in the United States suffer from PTSD: post-traumatic stress disorder. In Indiana, as many as 50,000 Hoosier veterans could be dealing with it. But a new program is exploring a novel treatment: yoga.

Once Again, the VA Turns Down Navy Vets for Agent Orange Benefits

Feb 9, 2016
USS Patapsco  off shore of Cua Viet, 1967
Kenneth Fuller / Naval History & Heritage Command

The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs has once again turned down an effort by Navy veterans to get compensation for possible exposure to Agent Orange during the Vietnam War.

In a document released Friday, the VA said it would continue to limit benefits related to Agent Orange exposure to only those veterans who set foot in Vietnam, where the herbicide was sprayed, and to those who were on boats in inland rivers. The VA compensates these veterans for a litany of associated illnesses, including diabetes, various cancers, Parkinson's Disease, peripheral neuropathy and a type of heart disease. 

Chicago Teens And Combat Veterans Join Forces To Process Trauma

Jan 26, 2016

If you took a map of Chicago and put down a tack for each person shot last year, you'd need nearly 3,000 tacks.

Of those, 101 would be clustered in the neighborhood of East Garfield Park. That's where 15-year-old Jim Courtney-Clarks lives.

"To be honest, I really don't like it," Courtney-Clarks says. "Every time you look up somebody else is getting killed, and I never know if it's me or somebody I am really close to."

New VA Clinic Opens For Transgender Vets

Jan 4, 2016

A Veterans Affairs hospital in Tucson, Ariz., is expanding treatment to a previously underserved faction of the armed services: transgender veterans.

It's one of the first VA hospitals in the country to open a clinic devoted specifically to the needs of veterans like Sue McConnell.

"In 1994 I was diagnosed with PTSD. I was also dealing with the fact that I was a woman," McConnell says.

Lauren Silverman / KERA

It’s common to train service dogs to help veterans with physical disabilities. But how about helping them with post traumatic stress disorder? The Veterans Administration is launching a major study to find out what effect specially-trained service dogs can have on a veterans ability to cope with life after service. Veterans who already rely on service dogs say the research should have been done years ago.


Behind Bars, Vets With PTSD Face A New War Zone, With Little Support

Nov 5, 2015

At the county court in Waukesha, Wis., in September, Iraq veteran David Carlson sat before a judge hoping he hadn't run out of second chances.

The judge read out his record: drugs, drunken driving, stealing booze while on parole, battery while in prison. Then the judge listed an almost equal number of previous opportunities he'd had at treatment or early release.

Carlson faced as much as six more years on lockdown — or the judge could give him time served and release him to a veterans treatment program instead.

The judge's tone was not encouraging.

Staff Sgt. Eric James, an Army sniper who served two tours in Iraq, paused before he walked into a psychiatrist's office at Fort Carson, Colo. It was April 3, 2014. James clicked record on his smartphone, and then tucked the phone and his car keys inside his cap as he walked through the door to the chair by the therapist's desk.

40 Years After Vietnam, Navy Vets Still Fighting for Agent Orange Compensation

Sep 21, 2015
USS Patapsco  off shore of Cua Viet, 1967
Kenneth Fuller / Naval History & Heritage Command

To the best of his knowledge, Jim Smith never saw or handled Agent Orange on the Navy ship he served on during the Vietnam War.

"I never sprayed the stuff, never touched the stuff," said Smith, 65, who lives in Virginia Beach. "I knew later, vets started getting sick from it, but I didn't think it had any impact on me."

This is a tale of two cities. In New Orleans, there are signs of hope that veteran homelessness can be solved. But Los Angeles presents a very different picture.

Under the deafening highway noise of the Pontchartrain Expressway in central city New Orleans, Ronald Engberson, 54, beds down for the night. Engberson got out of the Marines in 1979, plagued even back then by problems with drugs and alcohol. He says that's mostly the reason he's been homeless the past 10 years.

Beverly and Pack via Flickr/ https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

The rate of suicide among military personnel has more than doubled since 2005.  A study released earlier this month in the medical journal JAMA Psychiatry found no connection between suicide and deployment.

The study looked at military members who served during the latest conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan. Researchers found elevated rates of suicide among veterans with fewer than four years of service, and among those who received other-than-honorable discharges.

Michelle Faust

Palmer Gaetano served in the army in France and Belgium World during War II. The 92-year old now lives in a hospice facility in Spencerport, near his daughter and her family.  He proudly points to an American flag quilt and pin, and two plaques, now hanging on the walls which he received during a private ceremony held in his honor shortly after he entered hospice in late 2014. A group called We Honor Veterans presented each of these items to him. “It was quite a day for me,” he says.


NPR — along with seven public radio stations around the country — is chronicling the lives of America's troops where they live.

It's a tradition as old as New Year's: making resolutions. We will not smoke, or sojourn with the bucket of mint chocolate chip. In fact, we will resist sweets generally, including the bowl of M&M's that our co-worker has helpfully positioned on the aisle corner of his desk. There will be exercise, and the learning of a new language.

It is resolved.

So what does science know about translating our resolve into actual changes in behavior? The answer to this question brings us — strangely enough — to a story about heroin use in Vietnam.

Maheen Adamson

Landing an airplane is one of the most difficult piloting techniques to master, and the stats show it: 36 percent of all airplane accidents and 25 percent of fatalities occur during the final approach and landing.

New research by scientists at the Stanford University School of Medicine and the VA Palo Alto Health Care System reveals that expert pilots make better decisions during this phase than less experienced pilots because their brains behave more efficiently.

The imprint Ron Riveira's grandparents made on his life has been indelible. Ron, a hospice nurse in California, served as a Navy corpsman and a medic in the Marines. His grandmother and grandfather — a Korean War vet — helped raise him.

Ron remembers that his grandfather may not have said much, but his love for his wife was obvious. "They were a phenomenal couple," Ron tells his friend Jason Deitch at StoryCorps in Concord, Calif.

The House voted Wednesday to approve a bill that would address widespread problems with health care for veterans.

The vote in favor of the $16.3 billion package was 420 to 5.

The problems veterans have had obtaining care has drawn national attention in recent weeks. A White House investigation into problems at Department of Veterans Affairs hospitals found "significant and chronic systemic failures."

Sound Medicine: August 10, 2008

Aug 10, 2008

Topics for this week include: Detecting Performance Enhancing Drugs, The "Power Stretch" Machine, Kids on Statin Drugs, Counselling Returning Veterans, Why Mosquitos Bite, Fish for a Healthy Heart