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Veterans left without mental health care amid COVID-19 pandemic

The statewide social-distancing rule has caused a ripple effect of problems for veterans in need of mental health services.

Posted: May 1, 2020 7:40 PM

LAFAYETTE, Ind. (WLFI) — Indiana veterans are feeling like they're falling through the cracks amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Since the stay-at-home order took effect, many are left without mental health care services.

"I was panicked, I was completely lost," said Cory Houston, Lafayette veteran.

Houston has been a veteran for more than 20 years. As the stay-at-home order forced many workers to move remotely, it abruptly left Houston without services he heavily relied on.

"I couldn't get a hold of my med provider, I couldn't get a hold of my psychologist," said Houston.

Houston struggles with PTSD. His counselor joins a number of health care workers sent home without equipment necessary to do their job. He's asking state and local leaders to step up to help Veteran Affairs.

"Give the VA the tools they need, like the laptop so that they can work from home," said Houston. "They need tools to effectively help veterans."

Because of Houston's circumstances, he has been connected with his counselor. Lafayette veteran Ben Mann, who also suffers from PTSD, says he hasn't been so lucky.

"I've called, nothing is available, there are no doctors available," said Mann. "I asked for the telecommunication service, they couldn't set it up. So it's been really challenging."

According to Christina Howard, Chief Case Manager with Mary T. Klinker Veterans Resource Center in Lafayette, the national statistic for veteran suicides is 22 people per day. It's unclear if those numbers are growing amid this state-enforced isolation.

"I understand obviously, you know we have to be safe we're not trying to spread the virus but at the same time, it's a struggle and as a veteran, it's kind of hard because, you know, we earned our medical care you know what I'm saying?" said Mann.

Howard is calling this need a crisis.

"We need to put this on the radar the same as we're putting, you know, the threat of eviction and food insecurity and of course people's primary health care, said Howard. "We can't ignore this."

She said they're looking for any help they can get.

"We're asking that the state step up in whatever form or capacity that they can to assist and make sure that we have a smooth transition, we're getting our veterans back into the mental health care," said Howard.

Howard said she has reached out to State Representative Jim Baird. She said his team has been responsive, however, there are still no solid solutions to the problem.

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Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 664446

Reported Deaths: 12663
CountyCasesDeaths
Marion909511650
Lake48568884
Allen36004640
Hamilton32182398
St. Joseph30166513
Elkhart25453419
Vanderburgh21300382
Tippecanoe20143203
Johnson16407361
Porter16042276
Hendricks15877300
Clark12018181
Madison11776319
Vigo11660231
Monroe10379163
Delaware9870179
LaPorte9802198
Howard9083199
Kosciusko8582111
Bartholomew7488147
Warrick7438151
Hancock7428133
Floyd7243170
Wayne6648192
Grant6446157
Boone610989
Morgan6106126
Dubois5925112
Dearborn549969
Cass547299
Marshall5439105
Henry542594
Noble510578
Jackson465167
Shelby461991
Lawrence4193113
Harrison402564
Gibson402083
Clinton396753
Montgomery389683
DeKalb387178
Knox357885
Miami357863
Whitley350237
Huntington347377
Steuben339555
Wabash332676
Putnam331260
Ripley327862
Adams324749
Jasper318143
White297952
Jefferson295874
Daviess285696
Fayette272156
Decatur271188
Greene262080
Posey261431
Wells258675
Scott251350
LaGrange241870
Clay241444
Randolph225676
Spencer218930
Jennings216344
Washington212827
Sullivan203639
Fountain202142
Starke189051
Owen183253
Fulton179837
Jay178528
Carroll176619
Perry173736
Orange171250
Rush165322
Vermillion161442
Franklin159635
Tipton148441
Parke140016
Pike128233
Blackford120727
Pulaski107344
Newton96632
Brown95140
Benton92213
Crawford91713
Martin80314
Warren75914
Switzerland7558
Union67510
Ohio54011
Unassigned0432

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