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Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is a common mental condition affecting many people who have experienced traumatic events. This health problem is common among veterans in the United States. Patients experience far-reaching effects, including depression, drug abuse, homelessness, and suicidal thoughts. This paper addresses the gaps in St. Louis’s programs and policies and health problems veterans with PTSD face. It goes further to identify ways in which CHNs can minimize such challenges.
Gaps in Policies and Programs: Health Problems
In Missouri, veterans encounter various predicaments that make it impossible for them to lead high-quality lives. Currently, St. Louis City lacks adequate programs to meet the needs of veterans with PTSD. A study by Flowers, Cadavid, Galindo-Ciocon, Munoz, & Nash (2017) revealed that many victims had increased chances of becoming homeless. In St. Louis, there are specific programs implemented to address the needs of veterans with various mental conditions, such as PTSD.
For example, the St. Louis VA Healthcare System is a program aimed at treating and empowering suffering from this medical condition (U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, n.d.). The Missouri Patriot Paws is a non-profit organization that offers service dogs to first responders and veterans with PTSD. Its objectives include supporting veterans and training them to improve their self-esteem.
The Wounded Warrior Project is another program that focuses on the needs of veterans experiencing life-threatening conditions or mental disorders. A personalized model is designed whereby family members and caregivers of the identified patient collaborate to record positive health results (Flowers et al., 2017). Additionally, St. Louis City has PTSD Clinical Teams that equip affected veterans with appropriate skills to tackle the symptoms of PTSD.
Unfortunately, the implemented policies have failed to meet the needs of different veterans, such as the Welcome Back Veterans (WBV), the Veterans Health Administration (VHA), and the Military Health System. Consequently, most of these victims encounter numerous health problems. Many veterans with PTSD in St. Louis also lack adequate counseling, medical care, and health resources (U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, n.d.). They are usually unable to access high-quality therapy and drugs. The illnesses associated with PTSD continue to impact their lives negatively. Most of these people are at risk of becoming jobless and homeless.
Role of Community Health Nurses
Community Health Nurses (CHNs) in this city can apply different strategies to address the above gaps in programs and policies. Firstly, they should encourage all veterans and their relatives to alter their personal attitudes and embrace the power of counseling. This approach is essential since many victims fail to acknowledge that they have mental problems (American Public Health Association, 2014). Secondly, CHNs can introduce superior initiatives to train and empower veterans with PTSD. Such services will encourage them to re-pattern their lives and overcome their unique problems.
Thirdly, CHNs can apply their competencies in mental health screening and assessment to identify veterans with PTSD and provide sustainable care. Fourthly, they can work in nursing homes and other organizations to provide appropriate medical attention to veterans with mental illnesses. Fifthly, CHNs can volunteer with specific institutions and programs to offer adequate care to all patients (Flowers et al., 2017). Finally, CHNs should engage in policy formulation agenda to propose superior initiatives that will meet the demands of all veterans.
The above discussion has indicated that St. Louis has several policies and programs aimed at meeting the needs of veterans with PTSD. Unfortunately, such initiatives cannot empower all potential beneficiaries or transform their health experiences. CHNs should, therefore, work tirelessly to identify the demands of this at-risk population and implement evidence-based strategies to address them.
American Public Health Association. (2014). Removing barriers to mental health services for veterans. Web.
Flowers, M., Cadavid, M., Galindo-Ciocon, D., Munoz, A. P., & Nash, D. (2017). Impact of veteran-centric prepared nurses on veteran outcomes. International Journal Nursing, 4(1), 13-18. Web.
U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. (n.d.). VA St. Louis Health Care System. Web.