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Veterans angling for new PTSD treatment center as part of Mayo expansion

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Military veterans and their advocates in southeast Minnesota are trying to drum up support for a plan to create a new “destination” treatment center for veterans and veterans’ families dealing with post-traumatic stress disorder and other mental trauma.

If organizers with the Minnesota National Guard’s Beyond the Yellow Ribbon program get their way, the new center would be part of Mayo Clinic’s multi-billion dollar expansion of its flagship Rochester campus.

Their plan envisions Mayo becoming a "destination treatment center for veterans and veteran families for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), related trauma/stress injuries and all other health-care needs."

PTSD is a condition that can develop after a traumatic event like combat, sexual assault, child abuse or an accident.

Read more about the effects of PTSD on military family members.

Beyond the Yellow Ribbon’s Kenn Roehl told the Rochester Post Bulletin Mayo could fill a critical gap in care for the state’s 1.1 million veterans, in addition to the estimated 22 million military veterans nationwide.

"This is a huge issue. There's thousands of families out there," Roehl says.

Beyond the Yellow Ribbon estimates there are 30,000 veterans in southeast Minnesota alone, but there's little coordinated treatment for PTSD-related family stress.

Mayo Clinic spokesman Karl Oestreich told the paper it does not appear Mayo leaders have spoken to Beyond the Yellow Ribbon about the organizing effort.

What is PTSD?

According to the National Center for PTSD, the condition is common among military veterans from all eras:

– Up to 20 percent of Iraq and Afghanistan veterans have PTSD

– As many as 10 percent of Gulf War veterans have PTSD

– 30 percent of Vietnam Veterans are estimated to have PTSD

Scientists have been working to understand more about the effects of trauma on veterans and their families. They're also looking for new ways to treat the widespread disorder.

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