The Emotional Toll of Camp Lejeune Exposure: Can You Sue for Mental Health Effects?

Living at Camp Lejeune in North Carolina between the 1950s and 1987 meant exposure to a hidden danger: contaminated drinking water. This water contained harmful chemicals that caused serious health problems. 

The Emotional Toll of Camp Lejeune Exposure: Can You Sue for Mental Health Effects?

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While the physical effects are well-documented, the emotional toll on veterans and their families can be just as devastating. Fortunately, there might be legal recourse available through filing a Camp Lejeune lawsuit.

The Scope of the Problem: Camp Lejeune Water Contamination

The contamination at Camp Lejeune is a long-standing issue, spanning from 1953 to 1987. Leaking underground fuel tanks and nearby industrial waste sites polluted the water supply with harmful chemicals like trichloroethylene (TCE) and perchloroethylene (PCE). 

These chemicals are known carcinogens and have been linked to various health problems, including some cancers, liver damage, and birth defects. Estimates suggest that hundreds of thousands of people – veterans, their families, and civilian base personnel – may have been exposed during this period.

The Emotional Impact of Camp Lejeune Exposure

The emotional scars of Camp Lejeune water contamination can be deep. Veterans who lived at the base during the contamination period are at increased risk of developing mental health conditions like post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), anxiety, and depression. 

Studies suggest that veterans exposed to contaminated water are twice as likely to experience depression compared to unexposed veterans. These conditions can manifest in various ways, causing flashbacks, nightmares, difficulty concentrating, and feelings of isolation. 

The burden doesn’t stop there. Families can experience immense strain on relationships as they struggle to cope with their loved one’s emotional struggles. The financial burden of medical bills can further exacerbate the situation, creating a heavyweight for the entire family unit.

In 2022, a beacon of hope emerged for those affected by Camp Lejeune’s contaminated water – the Camp Lejeune Justice Act (CLJA). This act offers veterans and their families a path to legal recourse

To be eligible for filing a claim under the CLJA, individuals must have resided at Camp Lejeune for at least 30 days between August 1953 and December 1987 and have a diagnosed health condition linked to the contaminated water. Importantly, the CLJA recognizes the emotional toll as well. 

While the full scope of recoverable damages is still being determined, the act allows for compensation for medical expenses, lost wages, and, potentially, mental health treatment and associated costs.

The Emotional Toll of Camp Lejeune Exposure: Can You Sue for Mental Health Effects?

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Suing for Mental Health Effects: Challenges and Considerations

Proving a direct link between Camp Lejeune water exposure and mental health issues can be challenging. However, having strong medical documentation of diagnosed conditions and any potential connection to the contamination is crucial. 

Expert testimony from medical professionals familiar with the effects of these chemicals can also bolster a case. Considering the complexities involved, consulting with an attorney specializing in veterans’ benefits and environmental law is highly recommended. These legal professionals can navigate the legal process and protect your rights.


The emotional burden of Camp Lejeune water contamination can be significant, impacting veterans and their families. The Camp Lejeune Justice Act offers a chance for legal recourse. 

If you or someone you know lived at Camp Lejeune during the contamination period and are experiencing health problems, including mental health effects, reach out to an experienced attorney. Help is available, and you don’t have to carry this burden alone.

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