SPRINGFIELD – The National Institute of Medicine estimates that 20 percent of the 2.6 million U.S. service members who fought in Iraq and Afghanistan have symptoms of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). The holidays can be a difficult time for veterans struggling to cope with their experiences.
Now and throughout the year, the Illinois Warrior Assistance Program (IWAP) is a free resource that is available for veterans and their families. Veterans or loved ones can call to ask questions, be screened for PTSD or traumatic brain injury (TBI), and receive free follow-on counseling when needed.
“It is important for veterans to understand that seeking help for symptoms of PTSD is not a sign of weakness, but a sign of strength,” said IDVA Director Erica Borggren. “The good news for Illinois veterans and their families is that there are confidential treatment options available so they can access the help they need and deserve.”
Day or night, IWAP is available for veterans and their families dealing with PTSD or other challenges associated with returning from combat. Signs and symptoms of PTSD vary and may include trouble sleeping, concentrating or remembering; anger, irritability or anxiousness; or, frightening thoughts or nightmares. Diagnosis of PTSD occurs through initial screenings and testing, which are available through IWAP and other IDVA programs. IWAP also provides coverage for outpatient services that treat PTSD, specifically for Illinois veterans who do not have insurance and/or immediate access to VA-covered services.
IWAP is part of Governor Pat Quinn’s mission and commitment to support the men and women of the armed forces and ensure that veterans and current service members receive the benefits and services they have earned.
As a free and confidential resource provided by the State of Illinois, IWAP is a separate entity and bears no connection to the U.S. Armed Forces or the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. Veterans can access the program’s benefits 24 hours a day, 7 days a week via an online chat option at www.illinoiswarrior.com or through IWAP’s toll-free helpline at 1-866-554-4927.