NAMI Submits Testimony for Congressional Hearing on Veterans’ PTSD

6/8/2017

U.S. veterans experience Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) at a rate 15 times higher than civilians. Last year alone, almost 600,000 veterans sought care for PTSD from the Department of Veterans’ Affairs (VA).

Luckily, Congress is growing more aware of this staggering number and the House Committee on Veterans' Affairs held a hearing on June 7 to promote wellness and healing for veterans experiencing PTSD.

NAMI submitted written testimony to the committee applauding U.S. Secretary of Veterans’ Affairs David Shulkin’s efforts to enhance mental health services for veterans within the walls of VA, as well as the Committee’s attention to PTSD.

NAMI’s witness testimony, authored by Manager of Military and Veterans’ Policy Emily Blair, highlights the Department’s strides in establishing veteran suicide reduction as a top priority, offering urgent mental health care services to veterans and streamlining veteran medical records with the Department of Defense (DOD) for interoperability.

Peer support, evidence-based treatments and VA coordination with the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) are among the recommendations NAMI proposes to promote effective care and recovery for veterans with PTSD.

“In a culture that demands strength, it is often difficult to step forward and seek help for an injury such as PTSD that remains unseen,” NAMI’s testimony says. “For this reason, there is a much larger barrier facing America’s veterans in accessing necessary mental health care services. NAMI encourages the Committee to remain vigilant on these issues and keep matters concerning mental health care for our nation’s veterans at the forefront of all key policy discussions.”

House VA Committee Chairman Phil Roe (R-TN) echoed NAMI’s stance in his opening remarks during the hearing.

“If there is one over-arching message that I want to get out at this hearing, it is that PTSD is a treatable condition,” Chairman Roe said. “It is not a sign of weakness or defeat and it does not have to represent a life of incapacity.” 

Read NAMI’s Testimony Here