On Veterans Day, military members and their families nationwide are honored and remembered for the sacrifices they have made to protect our country. But the holiday is also a potent reminder of the scars of war, as many American soldiers have come home with severe physical and mental injuries.
Since the Vietnam War, post-traumatic stress disorder has become an extremely common side effect of combat and has affected nearly 1 in 5 soldiers of the 1.6 million that have served in Iraq or Afghanistan, according to the Center for Ethical Solutions. This is approximately 300,000 veterans that have frequently had to relive their often disturbing wartime experiences.
This is why the Editorial Board would like to acknowledge psychology professor Donald Bersoff ,who was recently elected 2013 president of the American Psychological Association. The APA is the largest scientific and professional organization representing psychology in the United States and is the world’s largest association of psychologists. Following the announcement of his new position, Bersoff said that his main goal as APA president will be to “have psychologists take the lead in serving the mental-health needs of military personnel, veterans and their families.”
Bersoff currently leads the J.D./Ph.D program in law and psychology in the Earle Mack School of Law, serves as a faculty member in the College of Arts and Sciences and is a national authority on various aspects of mental health. He is intimately familiar with the effects war can have on an individual’s mental health, having served as a military psychologist during the Vietnam War.
He also served as the APA’s first general counsel from 1979 to 1989 and received the Presidential Citation for Distinguished Service to APA in 2000. Bersoff edited the landmark “Ethical Conflicts in Psychology,” now in its fourth edition, and wrote more than 100 publications and papers on the interaction of law, psychology and public policy
In the past, the stigma surrounding mental health issues has stopped those suffering from coming forward and receiving treatment, but it is our hope that the efforts made by Bersoff and his colleagues will change this for the future.
We commend him for his determination to finding real solutions to a problem that affects so many veterans. His accomplishments are impressive, and we are proud to have him publicly represent our institution. With his upcoming presidency, Bersoff is putting Drexel’s psychology department on the map and contributing to the overall success of the University.