San Diego Veterans Group Works To Raise Awareness About PTSD

Roughly 22 veterans commit suicide every day. Some studies suggest suicide risk is higher in those who suffer from post traumatic stress disorder.

Monday is National Post Traumatic Stress Disorder Awareness Day, and a local organization is launching a campaign urging struggling veterans to have the courage to ask for help.

The Three Wise Men Foundation, founded by former San Diego Assemblyman Nathan Fletcher, is rolling out a public service ...

Continue reading

Veterans Choice Medical Program Troubled From Start

Amanda Wirtz started her six-year Navy career in 1997. She served aboard a destroyer off Bosnia and during combat off Iraq in 1998.

When she developed a rare tumor, Wirtz, 37, was discharged in 2003 and began using the Department of Veterans Affairs Health System in San Diego. For the most part, she has been happy with her care.

Then last year, Wirtz began having headaches. When the VA couldn ...

Continue reading

UCSD Study Links Higher PTSD Risk To Genetics

A wide-ranging study published Wednesday identifies possible genetic links to an increased risk of post-traumatic stress disorder.

Scientists from UC San Diego School of Medicine, the Veterans Affairs San Diego Healthcare System and other institutions analyzed DNA samples from more than 13,000 U.S. soldiers and discovered two statistically significant genetic variants that might be associated with PTSD.

RELATED: Veterans Say Trained Dogs Help With PTSD, But The VA ...

Continue reading

Physician Shortage Drives Wait Times At VA San Diego

The VA San Diego is trying to cope with the longest wait times for patients seeking mental health care of any Veterans Affairs office in the country.

For one physician, it feels like the problem has been getting worse.

Dr. Hoang Nguyen has worked as a psychiatrist for the VA San Diego for nearly 19 years. San Diego has seen the demand for mental health appointments increase 9 percent a ...

Continue reading

VA Report: Vet Attempted Suicide Waiting For Mental Health Care In San Diego

A new report from the inspector general for Veterans Affairs accuses staffers at the VA San Diego of falsifying the time it took veterans to see a mental health specialist in 2014. Investigators found one veteran attempted suicide after his doctor canceled several appointments.

The report released last week said the unnamed veteran’s provider canceled four appointments in a row. The local VA concedes the report is true.

“We ...

Continue reading

Marines, Sailors Adjust To New Maternity Leave Policy

After years of giving women in the military six weeks of maternity leave, the Defense Department has changed the policy and will allow them to take off up to 12 weeks when they have a baby. The aim is to retain more women in the military.

For women in the Navy and Marines, 12 weeks is a step back. Last July, Navy Secretary Ray Mabus, recognizing the retention problem, decided ...

Continue reading

Volunteers Make A Home For Disabled Vet In Fallbrook

One disabled veteran will be able to live on his own, after receiving a little help from a lot of volunteers in Fallbrook.

Just over four years ago, Nick Kimmel was a Marine sergeant serving in Afghanistan. He lost his legs and most of his left arm to a roadside bomb explosion near the Kajaki Dam. It changed his life forever, and so did having a home of his own ...

Continue reading

Injured Marine Veteran Rolls To Finish Line At Washington, D.C., Marathon

Riding a handcycle almost 4,000 miles from San Diego to Washington, D.C., would seem like a lofty goal for even the most adventurous. Ret. Marine Sgt. Toran Gaal, who accomplished that feat last summer, didn’t stop there. He returned to the nation’s capital this month to tack on another 26.2 miles in the 40th annual Marine Corps Marathon.

“(This race is) special to me — we ...

Continue reading

Point Loma Event Aims To Help Veterans With PTSD

Veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress and traumatic brain injury may find support and resources at a Liberty Station event in Point Loma Saturday.

Organizers of the event, Operation Engage America, hope to bring together veterans who need help and their families with the resources available from health and military organizations in San Diego County.

Jean and Howard Somers founded the event after their son Daniel, an Iraq war veteran, committed ...

Continue reading

Pentagon Grapples With Retaliation In Sex Assault Cases

It's not against the law or military regulations to choose not to sit with someone in the dining hall or to unfriend them on Facebook, but in the traumatic aftermath of a sexual assault, a victim could interpret those moves as retaliation.

In these days when a tweet or Instagram photo can be wielded as weapons, the Pentagon is struggling to define retaliation and rein in bullying or other ...

Continue reading

Even The Devil Can't Fool A Dog - Part 12

Carlos had also to come to terms with the fact that his life after the Marine Corps looked nothing like he thought it would when he enlisted as a kid.

“In Chicago I was a punk teenager, and I needed change. The Marine Corps was a way out. Where I was headed in my life, it was a bad route. I joined the Marine Corps to stay alive. I was ...

Continue reading

Even The Devil Can't Fool A Dog - Part 11

Our sleepy, overcast Sunday morning eased into a sunny afternoon, and Carlos and Logan were headed off to see a Padres baseball game in downtown San Diego - an invitation from a fellow Marine.

Carlos told me he and Logan had been to only one public sporting event since he returned from Iraq. It was another Padres game, and the experience drained him.

“It’s not easy. I don’t go ...

Continue reading

Even The Devil Can't Fool A Dog - Part 10

As our conversation at the Carlsbad coffee house winded down, a palm frond fell from a tree onto a nearby table.

The loud bang quieted the patio of voices, until the embarrassed laughter of diners being scared over nothing broke the silence.

I turned back to face Carlos. He was looking down at his hands. Logan had moved from his comfortable position beneath the table, and was now resting his ...

Continue reading