National Alliance on Mental Illness
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Veterans: A Critical Concern
June 25, 2007
Loud gasps were heard from the audience when U.S. Representative Bob Filner, chairman of the House Committee on Veterans Affairs, offered this statistic while speaking before the annual convention of the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) in
Filner called mental health professions, schools, churches, employers, and other
His remarks come at a time when strong concerns have been voiced about the Pentagon’s mental health care system and policies as well as VA treatment.
Immediately before Filner’s remarks, the Hartford Courant of
During a convention session on mental healthcare reform within the VA system, Thomas Horvath, M.D., chief of staff for the VA Medical Center in
What is missing is recovery, he noted. There is no specific definition.
Measurements also are not always connected. For example, the quality of specific care may be high, but satisfaction low.
Describing reforms that have occurred in recent years, John Bradley, a consultant to NAMI’s National Veterans Council, said, “The system is really exhausted right now,” with turnovers in leadership reflecting almost a “panic.”
Horvath estimated that only about 15 percent of medical professionals in the VA system are