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February 5, 2007 3:00 AM

VA system ill-equipped to treat mental anguish of war, 2/5/07

The VA counts post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD, as the most prevalent mental health malady and one of the top illnesses overall to emerge from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. VA Secretary James Nicholson and other top administration officials have said that the agency is well-equipped to handle any onslaught of mental health issues and that it plans to continue beefing up mental health care and access under the administration budget proposal released last week. But an investigation by McClatchy Newspapers has found that even by its own measures, the VA isn't prepared to give returning veterans the care that could best help them overcome destructive, and sometimes fatal, mental health ailments.

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