Friday October 15, 2010

BRATTLEBORO -- The Department of Veterans Administration dedicated the new headquarters for the National Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder Clinic in White River Junction on Oct. 12.

Senators Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., and Bernard Sanders, I-Vt., were on hand for the ribbon cutting

The center is located on the campus of the Veterans Administration Medical Center.

The new Headquarters Building is the hub of what has become an extensive VA-wide PTSD research and education network -- parallel to the direct care that veterans receive in VA medical facilities -- which acts on the nation's long-term commitment to look after those who have served once they return home, said both Leahy and Sanders during the ceremony.

"We used to think of PTSD as something faced only by Vietnam veterans," said Leahy. "So many of our troops coming home today also suffer from PTSD. It is more important than ever for us to look after those who have done and given so much for their fellow citizens and who now suffer from the invisible wounds of war."

Leahy, who, as a senior member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, has championed investments in the Center to address PTSD cases among troops returning from combat in Iraq and Afghanistan, also thanked the staff at the center for their hard work in addressing issues related to PTSD.

More than 300,000, or nearly one out of every five service members from Iraq and Afghanistan report symptoms of PTSD or major depression.


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Sanders worked closely with the chairman of the veterans committee, Sen. Daniel Akaka, D-Hawaii, to bolster the budget for the White River Junction facility.

"We must do everything we can to make sure our brave men and women in uniform receive the care they need when they return from war," said Sanders. "Expanding and improving the nation's leader in PTSD research is the least we can do."

The VA established the National Center for PTSD in response to a 1984 congressional mandate to address the needs of veterans with military-related PTSD.

The VA established the Center as a consortium of five divisions and currently consists of seven VA academic centers across the United States, with headquarters in White River Junction.

Other divisions are located in Boston, West Haven, Conn., Palo Alto, Calif., and Honolulu.