Home Depot founders Bernie Marcus and Arthur Blank are making a $20 million investment to aid the mental health of veterans and first responders suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). With this donation, they will create 20 new mental health centers across the U.S.
“This is not a mental health issue, said Marcus in an interview with Fox Business. “This is an issue of not being able to cope with the world as it is. And there’s been very few treatments that have been very successful. Our treatment we’ve had in place now for about 8 years, Operation Share in Atlanta, has operated and we’ve had hundreds of these people through our program.”.
He went on to say:
“[T]he biggest problem we face is suicide. You’re not going to believe the number 20 every single day; 20 young men and women commit suicide every single day. That’s a tragedy.”
Around 3 million men and women have been deployed overseas since September 11, 2001. Blank says, “A third of them have come home with the kind of either mental health issues, mental wellness issues or physical issues that Bernie is describing of the first responders.”
Blank says that their program is comprehensive as it deals with physical injuries workers and soldiers sustain as well as the invisible psychological issues. They can’t wait to take their program nationwide and have plans for 23 sites to be functional within the next few years.
When asked how their centers will be different from the treatment veterans are already receiving, Marcus says that they specialize in treating people as individuals. They understand that there’s not a magic pill for PTSD to cure it. Instead, they focus on their comprehensive program and have seen good results from the Marcus Brain Center based in Colorado.
“Ninety-five percent are now achieving a lifestyle that they could live with. And those numbers have never been achieved before by anybody that we’re aware of,” said Marcus. “The numbers are like 55 to 60 percent and they were able to go back and function in life, become husbands and wives again, be family-oriented, keep a job of being able to focus, be able to sleep at night and have the nightmares that they had before.”
The other thing that differentiates this program is that it’s free of charge for those in need. It’s simply there to help first responders and veterans get back on track.
Georgia’s workers’ compensation for PTSD
In Georgia, it’s required by law that workers first have a physical injury before they are eligible to receive benefits for a psychological injury. Currently, psychological symptoms without bodily injury are not compensable under Georgia workers’ compensation laws.
What are the symptoms of PTSD?
People experiencing post-traumatic stress disorder commonly experience the following debilitating symptoms and mental health conditions connected to the traumatic event:
- Stress and anxiety
- Flashbacks and nightmares
- Social isolation
- Increased sensitivity and reactive responses
- Difficulty sleeping (insomnia)
- Agitation and irritability
- Self-destruction behavior (i.e. substance abuse)
- Emotional detachment
If you believe you or a loved one may be suffering from work-related PTSD, or you suspect a loved one is experiencing PTSD after witnessing a traumatic event, it’s imperative that you talk to your doctor and get an evaluation from a mental health professional.
After that, your next step is to speak with an experienced Georgia workers’ compensation attorney to see what benefits you may be entitled to.