Texas Political Lobbyist News: State lawmakers Discuss Mental Health Challenges for Veterans
The following is a digest of an article found at the Texas Tribune. The Texas Lobby Group is making this summary available on one of our ancillary sites as a public service for Texas Lobbyists, Texas politicians and politically active persons, as well as Government consultants.
The U.S. military has seen a massive increase in suicides since the start of the war in Iraq in 2003. These increase has been measured as high as 80%. This increase is frightening and has got Texas lawmakers looking for solutions. Mental health care needs to be available for veterans returning home. Lt. Colonel Alba Villanueva, director of joint family support forces, testifies that there have been 15 suicides of Texas veterans in the last 3 years. Two of these have occurred within the last month. These suicides showcase of the lack of mental care that soldiers receive coming home. They head home thinking seeing their loved ones again will solve everything, but all too often they find lingering depression and post traumatic stress disorder.
It’s also very important to help soldiers realize how common this is and that it can be remedied. Lt. Villanueva states that he believes soldiers are getting better at recognizing behaviors that can lead down the road to suicide. It’s important to fight the stigma that goes along with mental health, and for veterans to understand that it’s ok to ask for help. Another issue is having care available for soldiers.
“The goal during the next legislative session, said Pickett, the committee’s chairman, will be to present related funding increases as a savings for the state, rather than an expense, because additional peer networks may address mental health before a veteran ends up in jail or in a drug treatment program. “Perhaps we can find a way to present it,” he said, “where the benefit will outweigh the cost.”
These problems in the military community are a reflection of a greater problem. There is a widespread lack of available and comprehensive mental health assistance for many people needing it. It can be quite expensive to get mental assistance; the road to healing often includes a great deal of drugs and counseling. What’s important is to make these resources available and affordable for those who are currently struggling getting help. A functioning individual, makes for more desirable and functional behavior within society. These benefits spread throughout families, schools, communities, and daily life. It’s time to ensure our veterans are provided with mental health care.
Read the original article here.