Policy/Biz

President Obama Plans Veteran Health Care Improvements With Better Access To Treatment

Veterans Will Now Receive More Access To Mental Health Care
PTSD and suicide-susceptible veterans need mental health care, and Obama plans to expand their access to it. Photo courtesy of Shutterstock

Veterans and their families have been promised more health and financial support in order to overcome PTSD, suicide, and mortgage refinancing problems. On Tuesday, President Barack Obama announced steps to expand access to mental health care for veterans and an initiative to lower home loan costs for military families.

Earlier this year, the Department of Veterans Affairs received a lot of bad publicity due to a failure to provide health care to veterans, resulting in lengthy delays and deplorable attempts to cover up their wrongdoing. To remedy the problem, Obama spoke at the American Legion’s national convention in Charlotte, N.C., to reveal that banks such as Wells Fargo, Bank of America Corp, and Quicken Loans were going to make it easier for military members to refinance their mortgage at lower interest rates.

"We’re going to help more of our military troops and their families own their own home without a crushing debt," Obama said at an American Legion meeting in Charlotte, N.C., according to Reuters. "Misconduct we’ve seen at too many facilities with long wait times and folks cooking the books is outrageous and inexcusable. What I want you to know directly from me, is we are going to get to the bottom of these problems, we are going to fix what is wrong, we are going to do right by your families."

The President also announced he will expand mental health care for members of the military and veterans, in addition to increasing research on post-traumatic stress disorder and suicide that is strongly associated with veterans. Obama hopes the Senate will remain Democratic in the final two years of his presidency in order to push forward with his plans for veterans with a supportive and unified voice.

Every day, 22 United States veterans take their own lives, according to the Department of Veterans Affairs, and the numbers may be higher because of the amount of homeless veterans who are unaccounted for. Whether suicide comes from a gun, intentional car crash, or drug overdose, 30 percent of all veterans reported they have considered suicide. Intervention through therapy sessions and drug prescriptions are needed to cope with PTSD, a frequently diagnosed disorder among soldiers returning from war, and could prevent the high frequency of daily suicides.

Approximately 5.2 million adults are living with PTSD, and those who have experienced a life-threatening event or trauma, mental health problem, consume a lot of alcohol, are poorly educated, or have little support from family and friends are more likely to develop the disorder. Without intervention, PTSD and depression by veterans is highly associated with suicidal behavior, and this critical problem requires early identification. Feeling that one does not belong with other people, feeling like a burden to society, and the fear and pain associated with flashbacks from military combat are all related to suicidal tendencies, according to a study in the Cleveland Clinic Journal of Medicine.

Currently, experts believe PTSD occurs in 11 to 20 percent of Veterans from the Iraq and Afghanistan wars and 10 percent from the Gulf War Desert Storm, especially if they’ve seen combat. A soldier who has been shot at, seen a comrade shot, or have seen death during time of war is likely to develop PTSD. Also, another prevalent cause of PTSD is military sexual trauma (MST), which is experienced by 55 percent of women and 38 percent of men in the military. According to the Department of Veterans Affairs, 23 percent of women reported sexual assault in the military, and an additional unknown amount experienced sexual assault.

Loading...