PTSD is a serious subject which should not be politicized or used as a political talking point. It’s certainly not President Obama’s fault–nor President’s Bush’s fault–that Sarah Palin’s son has PTSD. PTSD is not a one size fits all injury. Each individual is affected differently, but there are treatment options that can help and research continues in this area to understand the injury more and develop additional therapies for rehabilitation. However, the attention Palin’s comments have brought to this issue is an example of why the country should be paying more attention to veterans.
Veterans issues aren’t right or left issues. IAVA’s membership is extremely diverse politically, but united as one veterans family. We saw Congress and the Administration come together this time last year to unanimously pass and sign into law the Clay Hunt SAV Act, which provides veterans with more resources to seek mental health assistance. IAVA is the leading non-partisan veterans organization for post-9/11 vets and continues to encourage both parties to come together to find bipartisan solutions to address our community’s challenges — whether they are fixing veteran homelessness, unemployment, or mental health issues.
Every day, IAVA serves vets fighting and overcoming PTSD. It’s important to recognize that Track Palin may need help like many veterans we represent and serve—and that his mother is in a position to help not only him but the 22 veterans a day who are dying by suicide. PTSD is a problem that is contributing to this urgent public health challenge.
We encourage Palin to be a voice for real change and to encourage Trump and all candidates from both parties to adopt IAVA’s recommendations for improving mental health care, such as:
- Extending special combat veteran eligibility for VA health care from five years to 15 years after leaving active duty;
- Ensuring that VA primary care providers and their staff are trained in the assessment, management and triage of acute suicide risk patients; an;
- Decriminalizing suicide attempts within the Uniform Code of Military Justice.
Finally, this is an opportunity to have a substantive discussion on issues related to mental health care — IAVA has long been a strong supporter of Veterans Courts. More than 40 states (including Alaska) have established these innovative alternatives to traditional criminal sentences for veterans with legal trouble characteristic of a mental health injury rather than criminality. These are the topics we would like to see the candidates discuss.
If you’re a vet or know someone who might need help contact IAVA at www.IAVA.org.