Head of Veteran’s Affairs Pledges Better Mental Health Resources

The topic of mental health among returning veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars has been hotly contested of late, especially in the wake of reports of growing suicide and post-traumatic stress disorder or PTSD rates in military personnel. Adding weight to the argument for more extensive, accessible, and meaningful mental health measures, the recent attack at the Ft. Hood army base has re-sparked discussions about a lack of thorough screening and understanding within the military community. After attending the memorial service for victims of the Ft. Hood shootings on Tuesday,the head of the Department of Veterans Affairs, four-star general Eric Shinseki, appeared on “The Early Show” Wednesday to talk about the incident and the Department’s plans for mental health going forward.

Though mental health advocates and medical professionals, as well as caregivers and family members of returning veterans may have been anticipating a clear description of plans for future improvements, Shinseki’s statements were relatively general. The VA Director noted that over nineteen thousand mental health professionals were employed in the service of the Department, and that work was being “diligently” carried out in order to provide an increased level of care to service members in need. Expressing grave concern and regret over the Ft. Hood incident, Shinseki was reported to convey deep concern over the role of mental health in overall personnel well-being, but beyond the implementation of a post-September 11th G.I. bill, there was little to indicate any specific plans for the future.

In the coming weeks and months, the inadequacy of military mental health services for both active-duty personnel and veterans alike may help the VA and other offices find greater motivation for taking definite, effective measures to better serve their staff.

© Copyright 2009 by By John Smith, therapist in Bellingham, Washington. All Rights Reserved. Permission to publish granted to GoodTherapy.org.

The preceding article was solely written by the author named above. Any views and opinions expressed are not necessarily shared by GoodTherapy.org. Questions or concerns about the preceding article can be directed to the author or posted as a comment below.

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  • MERLIN

    MERLIN

    November 17th, 2009 at 10:07 AM

    Army personnel deserve the best care possible and there should be nothing holding back in this regard. All that they do for the country deserves nothing but the best and to let them have any kind of health issues is just criminal.

  • diego

    diego

    November 17th, 2009 at 10:40 AM

    the recent incident has shocked one and all and the citizens have all the rights to know what measures are being taken to prevent a similar incident from occuring again in the future. Something substantial needs to be done, and fast.

  • Grayson

    Grayson

    November 18th, 2009 at 4:53 AM

    It’s about time that vet affairs started looking at this seriously! If anyone deserves quality health care than it is the men and the women who have fought so hard for our country.

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