Do Your Part To Prevent Suicides And Improve Treatment for Veterans
May 19, 2009
The Spring 2009 issue of the NAMI Advocate features a compelling picture of Matt and Sandy Kuntz and their young daughter meeting with President Obama during the recent Presidential Campaign. Matt, who is the Executive Director of NAMI Montana, spoke with then candidate-Obama about the need for better screening and care for soldiers struggling with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and other mental illnesses. Like so many NAMI members, Matt was speaking from the heart, having lost his step-brother to suicide after his return from deployment in Iraq. President Obama was so moved by the story he heard that day that he invited Matt and Sandy to accompany him on his Inaugural Train trip from Philadelphia to Washington, D.C.
Today, we have a chance to put Matt’s vision into action. A bill has been introduced in Congress to require mental health screening for members of the Armed Forces who are deployed for combat. The Post-Deployment Health Assessment Act of 2009, which is sponsored by Senator Max Baucus (D-MT) and Senator Mike Johanns (R-NE) in the Senate and by Representatives Dennis Rehberg (R-MT.) and Mike Thompson (D-CA) in the House, would require mental health screenings for active duty members of the armed forces prior to deployment, and following deployment at regularly scheduled intervals. The bill also would require sharing of information for purposes of ensuring continuity of care after individuals leave active duty military status.
Please contact Congress today to urge their support of this very important legislation, using NAMI's Legislative Action Center. Together we can make a difference in the lives of veterans struggling with mental illness.