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Noteworthy September 2010
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National Depression Screening Day: Oct. 7

Screening for Mental Health invites mental health counselors to help end the stigma associated with mental illness by participating in the 20th National Depression Screening Day (NDSD), which will be held this year on Oct. 7. 

New research supports the use of confidential depression screenings, which are highly accessible and non-threatening to users. Results from a 2009 independent study, conducted by the University of Connecticut and commissioned by Screening for Mental Health, found that confidential screenings do help get people into treatment. The study showed that 55 percent of participants who completed a depression screening online sought treatment within three months of the screening.

NDSD is designed to complement or supplement existing educational outreach, or to serve as a stand-alone event. To register for NDSD, either download the registration form or register online if you are able to pay by credit card.

All participating organizations may have their event posted on the NDSD Event Locator page—ideal for promoting an event or online screening to the public.

New Regulations for Veterans Make Filing PTSD Claims Easier

PTSD claims for veterans will be easier to file because of a new rule that became effective July 13 and applies to all PTSD claims, including appeals, that are received on or after July 13. The new regulation applies to veterans no matter when and where they served.

The change was made “to make the process easier and quicker for veterans” and because “medical science is always evolving, and we needed to catch up to recent developments,” according to the VA website.

In a Q&A format, the website explains that the change affects the evidence that veterans might need to apply for disability compensation for PTSD. “The rules have changed for ONE of these situations—the one that’s perhaps been the hardest to prove. 

“These are the cases where a veteran’s stress came from a fear of hostile military or terrorist actions—but where the veteran wasn’t actually engaged in combat. You might simply have been ‘near the action,’ driving [a] truck or working on a base, for instance, when something very frightening occurred.

“For these situations, we’ve made it much easier to ‘make your case.’  We no longer have to come up with records proving that the stressful event occurred.”

Note that the rules have not changed for:

  • Cases where PTSD was already diagnosed in service
  • Cases where the veteran was actually engaged in combat
  • Cases where a veteran was a prisoner of war
  • Cases involving personal assault (including sexual assault) that were not related to enemy actions

Those who applied for PTSD disability years ago and were denied may reapply now under the new rule. Veterans who believe they have PTSD but have never applied to the VA can click here to apply. Or they can click here to download the form.