Service Members & Veterans Initiative

The Service Members and Veterans Initiative (SVI) adds a psychoanalytic voice to the public's response to a growing mental health crisis among service members, veterans and their families — a crisis that is widely recognized by policy and mental health experts. It was in response to this public health emergency that APsaA began this initiative. APsaA's SVI emphasizes two core contributions that psychoanalysts can make in the context of this crisis:

  • A focus on the impact of war on families and children, including across generations.
  • A focus on the need for long term treatment and/or long term access to treatment for war injuries.

Introduction

In its 2008 report, "The Invisible Wounds of War," the Rand Corporation studied the mental health problems of returning veterans of the Afghanistan and Iraq Wars. Its authors concluded that 18.5 % of returning veterans struggle with PTSD or major depression, while another 19.5% suffer from traumatic brain injuries.
 

News accounts of post deployment suicide, treatment resistant PTSD, and economic, marital and family problems facing returning vets make it imperative that psychoanalysts join other Americans in helping all veterans get the help they need to heal from war injuries. We also must join our communities in addressing the psychological impact of the war that has been fought on our behalf. Further, we need to "help the helpers" who like those who went to war are exposed daily to stories of overwhelming trauma.

Through the SVI, APsaA addresses what psychoanalysts have been doing and can do in the face of this mental health crisis. It will offer links to organizations with important information, and a bibliography for all who are interested in learning more about the traumatic aftermath of modern warfare, as well as about the psychodynamic treatment of PTSD.

Core Issues

The Effect of Trauma on Families & Children
Psychoanalysis can help the public and mental health providers understand the hidden impacts of trauma on families and particularly on developing children, and they are particularly aware of the need to prevent the intergenerational transmission of trauma.

 

The Need for Long-Term Treatment and Long-Term Access to Treatment
Psychoanalysts understand the role of long-term treatment that addresses the needs of patients beyond the emergence and resolution of their initial symptoms, a focus that is particularly relevant to the treatment of PTSD and the intergenerational transmission of trauma.
 

Treatment for veterans, soldiers and family members must be individualized and flexible. Readiness or need for treatment may emerge years after a trauma; therefore veterans must be given lifelong access to treatment even if symptom free at the time of discharge from the service.

Additional SVI Information:

Programs & Partners

What Psychoanalysts are Doing

Talking Points

Bibliography, Filmography & Resources

Course Syllabus on War-Trauma

Relevant Position Statements: