IATWF: Veterans Who Need Help May Not Ask For It

California shooter draws attention to PTSD ahead of Veterans Day

Military Service Member

Photo by Andrea Hanks/White House

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By Jennifer Bloodworth and Joe DeStio for NewsRadio 1020 KDKA

PITTBSURGH (NewsRadio 1020 KDKA) — As Veterans Day approaches, Pittsburgh's It's About the Warrior Foundation is urging families and friends of veterans with suspected post-traumatic stress disorder are urged to seek help in wake of the bar shootings in Thousand Oaks, Calif.

The gunman in the Thousand Oaks California murders was a former machine gunner in Afghanistan.

Police say he killed 12 people, including a Ventura County Sheriff Sergeant, before killing himself.  

He had been interviewed by police last spring following a domestic incident with his mother. But a mental health specialist cleared him from requiring hospitalization, despite concerns of post-traumatic stress symptoms.

It's About the Warrior Foundation Executive Director Steve Monteleone told the KDKA Radio Morning News that's a message for families.

“If he’s a threat to you or to anyone else, you need call the police and 302 them,” Monteleone said, referring to a 302 petition.

That allows officials to involuntarily commit an individual to the nearest emergency room for evaluation if there is a concern of imminent danger. If the patient is committed to inpatient psychiatric care, they can be held for up to 120 hours or five days.

“You don’t want to take that chance,” Monteleone adds. “You don’t want to blow it off and say ‘oh it’s not a big deal’ and then something happens.”

Related:

It’s About the Warrior Foundation physician Dr. Thomas Burnett says too many families and friends don't seek the help a military veteran may need; telling the KDKA Radio Morning News the veteran needing help may be the last to seek it.

“It’s not easy to ask for help in psychological conditions, especially when you’ve got a lot of military men and women who just don’t want to ask for help. And that’s the biggest key.”

Veterans and their loved ones can seek help by calling the Veterans Crisis Line at 1-800-273-8255 and pressing 1 (1-800-799-4889 for deaf and hard of hearing callers) or texting 838255. Services are confidential and available 24/7 year-round.

The Veterans Affairs Pittsburgh Regional Office can be reached at 1-800-827-1000. It is located at 1000 Liberty Ave., Pittsburgh, PA 15222 and is open Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.

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