Augusta VA seeing increase in requests for mental health support


AUGUSTA, Ga. (WJBF) – The end of the war in Afghanistan is bringing back a wave of emotions for veterans. in the Augusta area. It’s leading them to ask for support.

“We have more of our patients who are receiving services coming back and wanting to reengage in care,” Dr. Dr. Dustin Wright, the Chief of Mental Health at the Charlie Norwood VA Medical Center, explains. “They’re reporting that the problems they are having are associated with the war in Afghanistan, withdrawal in Afghanistan and recent events, not to mention general stress from a pandemic and life over the past year in a half.”

Dr. Dustin Wright, the Chief of Mental Health at the Charlie Norwood VA Medical Center, says it is not uncommon for events like this to act as a trigger.

“[There is] a lot of reflection on service and taking stock of it. Was it with it? Those kinds of questions seem to come up.”

Veterans can battle these questions for years.

“We all did well,” Hollis Bush, a retired lieutenant colonel of the U.S. Army, says to veterans. “Hold your head up high.”

“It was important that we were there,” Truck Carlson, a retired sergeant first class of the U.S. Army, adds. “It was important that we did the job that we did. I would encourage every veteran to keep a hold of that thought because it wasn’t for nothing.”

Wright says treating veterans during this time can start simply. He encourages them to rest, socialize with loved ones, exercise and turn off the news.

“We’ll start with basic things like that,” Wright says. “Sometimes it does rise to the level of needing more formal treatment, and we would encourage some therapy.”

“This is normal but painful nonetheless,” he adds. “We are with you. We support you, especially here at the VA with all the resources. Your service was important. It really did matter. A lot of good has been done in that region of the world over the past 20 years.”

Support for veterans

Any veteran seeking support can contact the VA by clicking here or calling the Veterans Crisis Line at 1-800-273-8255 (press 1).

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.