Veterans and psychologists discuss mental health issues in U.S.
ATLANTA, Ga. (Atlanta News First) - Veterans Day is a day to remember, but some still want to forget it.
Our veterans in metro Atlanta have seen terrifying and traumatic situations, and coping with this is not an easy task.
Atlanta News First spoke to experts and veterans about how they cope with post-traumatic stress on Veterans Day.
Some memories can be from 50 years ago, but experts say coping with the pain is different for everyone when they come home.
“A lot of people like me still have mixed memories about it because people that we knew died. I saw a lot of people that were shot up,” Dr. Dave Davis said.
Davis has seen things no one will see in a lifetime.
“We had people coming down on helicopters and you know when they got there we didn’t even know for sure what kind of wounds they had,” he said.
In Vietnam, as a general medical officer for the U.S. Army, he helped save lives in combat.
He said he has tried to forget certain parts of his tour, but some things he just can’t forget.
“They had heart wounds, shot in the leg or shot in the head so the doctors would gather around each patient and decide who’s going to operate on him first, and that’s a sad memory a lot of those people died and they were disabled by it,” said Davis.
Now he’s a psychologist with Piedmont Hospital in Atlanta and he told Atlanta News First that many of his veteran patients are still dealing with psychological wounds, that don’t have a cure.
“Depression or post-traumatic stress disorder, or things like anxiety disorders. Some people developed schizophrenia or bipolar disorder while they were serving,” said Davis.
Atlanta News First also spoke to Tonya Carter, an Amy veteran who served as an engineering officer. Carter never saw combat but she comes from a military family where some still battle psychologically every day.
“When he came back he was a very different person. He stayed to himself he started to drink a great deal.” Carter said her uncle also served in Vietnam and still struggles today.
Carter told Atlanta News First she believes, part of the reason why her uncle and so many of her classmates from the Army struggle with mental health after is because many are focused on staying Army strong.
“He never dealt with it. To this day he’s still not dealt with it,” Carter said.
However, Dr. Davis said sometimes the best way to deal with this is to honor your mental health.
“You can go to a psychologist or a licensed professional counselor and some of those people are trained in the treatment of PTSD,” Dr. Davis said, there are still not enough trained psychologists in metro Atlanta, but if you wait your turn at the VA for this type of treatment it will be worth it.
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