Soldiers who endure trauma during combat may develop post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) upon returning home. This psychiatric condition has been known to result in symptoms, ranging from extreme mood swings to nightmares. Although more resources are becoming available to veterans who wish to control their symptoms, many run into trouble with the law before seeking help.
Recently, Virginia lawmakers expressed interest in developing a special judicial system for service members who suffer from mental illnesses, such as PTSD. More than 800,000 veterans live in Virginia, according to The Daily Press. Delegate Chris Stolle and Senator John Miller are leading the push to provide additional options instead of jail to former service members who break the law.
The court would be specially designed for veterans, not hardened criminals who are facing charges for crimes, such as rape and murder. Lawmakers stress that developing the court would not require any additional state funds or help from local governments.
More than 7 million Americans are diagnosed with PTSD every year, according to the National Institute of Mental Health. Therapy and medication can help individuals who have endured trauma.