U.S. Spent $5.6 Billion Last Year Treating Veterans with Mental Disabilities

Monday, April 19, 2010
(photo: from the film, The Ground Truth)

Caring for soldiers suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and other mental illnesses is costing the federal government billions of dollars a year, and will continue to do so for years to come. According to an analysis of Department of Veterans Affairs’ records by the Chicago Tribune, the VA spent $5.6 billion last year to treat mental disabilities. While these costs included treating veterans from previous wars, such as Vietnam and the Persian Gulf, the ballooning expenses have been driven largely by soldiers serving in Afghanistan and Iraq.

The Chicago Tribune found mental illness-related disability costs have soared 76% since 2003, “burdening an already overwhelmed system and underscoring the reality that the biggest costs of war are not often immediate or visible.”
One military survey of about 100,000 veterans of the Afghanistan and Iraq wars showed that 31% had been diagnosed with mental health or psychosocial problems.
-Noel Brinkerhoff
Costs Soar for Compensating Veterans with Mental Disorders (by Tim Jones and Jason Grotto, Chicago Tribune)


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