Under new bipartisan legislation co-sponsored by Barak Obama, Kit Bond, and other senators, active and reserve service m embers would be eligible for m ental health counseling from one of the 207 veterans’ centers operated by the Department of Veterans Affairs. The bill would extend military survivor benefits in cases of suicides among service members with a history of service-related mental health problems, an unprecedented policy change that would extend active-duty survivor benefits beyond the end of service for those who are not receriving retired pay.
According to Senator Bond, the bill “not only opens the door to additional resoruces but also lightens the load on our currently over-tasked specialists. There are grossly insufficient numbers of military behavioral health specialists t provide care ou troops need.” An interesting item in the bill provides incentives for veteran to become mental health specialists.
It is wonderful that finally mental health care issues for soldiers and veterans is beginning to receive the attention of Congress, but, isn’t there need for a congressional investigation into failure on the part of the Bush administration to address these issues over the past seven years?