There Will Be a Change

From the Association for Medical Education and Research in Substance Abuse, Washington.

Barack Obama promised to bring hope to America and change to Washington.

In the 48 hours since Mr. Obama was elected as the next president of the United States, the idea that a change has finally comehas been rippling around the country and the world.

On Thursday at the AMERSA meeting, change leaped out of the theoretical and into the actual when a prominent posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) researcher from the U.S. Dept. of Veterans Affairs broke free of what he said were Bush Administrationimposed chains. “I was prohibited for 3½ years from speaking to the media,” said Terence M. Keane, Ph.D. Dr. Keane is one of the country’s leading experts on PTSD in military personnel.

In 1978, he established the first treatment program for returning Vietnam vets. He is currently the director of the behavioral science division at the VA-funded National Center for PTSD (www.mentalhealth.va.gov/ptsd/alert.asp).

The Obamas and Bidens/Damon Winter-NY Times

The Obamas and Bidens/Damon Winter-NY Times

 

He said that higher-ups have been blocking him from talking to the lay media about the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and their impact on soldiers’ mental health. “This has been a profound mistake,” he told meeting attendees. He said the muzzling of experts was no accident; the policy was “quite well crafted.”

Dr. Keane said that it was “the first time I’m speaking about this openly because I feared reprisal from the system.” Perhaps, he mused, this policy will now end. “There will be a changeI don’t know what it will be, but there will be a change,” he said, adding that he hoped for a better future.

Alicia Ault

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Filed under Practice Trends, Psychiatry

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