PTSD help for veterans in Benton and Franklin CountiesPosted: Updated:
KENNEWICK, Wash. -- Between Benton and Franklin counties, we have more than 19,000 in our community. About 30% of them have one form or another of post traumatic stress disorder." Many of these vets undergo multiple tours, we're talking three, to four up to five, even up to seven tours, where the war has become a part of their life and has very much impacted their relationships, work and all domains of their life," says Valdez.
He says, of that 30% with problems, there is hope for many. "About 60% will get better, the other 30% usually stay stuck," says Valdez of his clients.
Staff Sergeant Mitch Snow has been out of the military since 1996, but years later, he gets help for post traumatic stress disorder at Valdez and Associates.
Robert Valdez is a mental health counselor in Kennewick. His office sees about 10-15 Vets with PTSD each day.
"Once you see something that's so horrible, what man can do to another man, there's just some things that can't be unseen," says Snow. He says he lost many friends to suicide because they cannot adjust back to civilian life, having problems with family, relationships, going out in public and sleeping at night. He says only other men and women who have been in combat understand what they've been through.
"I have known military people to stay in touch with their military friends because it does change you," says Snow. Besides counseling, Valdez holds group meetings for veterans three times a week. "They find themselves lonely. They find themselves isolated. They find themselves incapable of relating with their friends and family again," says Valdez.
Valdez says the C-box in Richland and the VA in Walla Walla is filled with people seeking help and there is often a back log. He works under contract to help ease that build up through the Washington State Department of Veteran Affairs and the Veteran Center of Yakima. The organizations usually front the bill for therapy if a vet has been honorably discharged.
The group meetings are for those enrolled, and are held Friday mornings 8:00-10:00 am and Monday and Wednesday evenings from 6:00-8:00pm. Valdez says, more and more vets are seeking help, especially ones from the Vietnam War era because they never got any treatment back then.
For more information on Valdez and Associates, call 509-572-2091.