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Additional Care for Illinois Vets

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The State of Illinois could soon offer new services to veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan.

The services would be geared towards psychological needs and brain injuries.

Chicago Public Radio’s Ben Calhoun reports.

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The program has two parts.

One is mandatory brain injury screening for all Illinois National Guard members—and free screening for all Illinois vets.

Part two would be a 24-hour hotline for vets with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.

Tammy Duckworth is Director of the Illinois Department of Veterans Affairs.

She says the hotline will help vets with PTSD get care at times when it’s currently unavailable.

Duckworth: The problem is that at 2 o’clock in the morning on a Saturday you need to be able to reach someone when you’ve just gotten through having those nightmares. I’ve had those dreams. I’ve woken up having relived an entire mission, an entire day of missions in Iraq.

Duckworth announced the new program with Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich.

They estimate it’ll cost 10-million dollars to get started.

At this point, less than half of that money is secured—but Blagojevich seemed unconcerned, calling himself a “glass half full” kind of person.

I’m Ben Calhoun, Chicago Public Radio

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