Mental health care crucial for veterans

Saturday, October 26, 2013

A national nonprofit organization was in Rocky Mount this weekend to launch an important and extremely worthwhile effort.

The Military Mental Health Project kicked off its initiative to address the startling suicide rate among veterans during its Call to Action Summit on Military Suicide on Saturday at VFW Post 2057.

The nationwide initiative aims to raise public awareness of the distressing epidemic of suicides by members of the military and to build a support network for veterans and their families to help stem this terrible trend.

The Veterans Administration reports that a member of the military commits suicide every 67 minutes in this country, which amounts to 22 every day. This is unacceptable, and the organizers of Saturday’s summit are to be commended not only for their effort but to be supported in it in every way possible.

Members of the military who are wounded in overseas combat receive the finest medical care a grateful country can give them through the system of VA hospitals across the country. And they deserve every bit of it – and much more.

Too often, the focus on the often horrifying physical wounds suffered by our courageous military men and women can many times overshadow the mental scars left by the traumatizing effects of battle and loss experienced in war zones. While the treatment of physical wounds is indeed paramount for members of the country’s armed forces, psychological wounds must receive the same care and attention.

Too many of our service members who suffer from mental health problems simply seem to fall through the cracks of the military health care system. The results come in the form of the shocking suicide rates among veterans.

The Military Mental Health Project’s effort is a good first step to begin reversing this disturbing trend. Bringing together veterans, their families and concerned citizens with mental health experts at meetings across the country will be a good way to share information, resources and strategies for providing mental health care to those who need and deserve it. Hopefully, that will help serve to get the public and the military more engaged in correcting this unacceptable problem.

 

 

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