Senators Propose Military Mental Health 'Centers of Excellence'
> 5/4/2007 10:57:19 AM

In an encouraging development related to this week's story about insufficient mental health care for returning active duty soldiers and their families, senators Joe Lieberman (I-CT) and Barbara Boxer (D-CA) have introduced a bill proposing the creation of independent centers dedicated to providing better, more comprehensive psych treatment for those who've served our country overseas.

The bill's specifics would require the Pentagon to establish at least two such centers, whose focus would be on improved research as well as expanded treatment options, particularly those relating to PTSD and the psychological effects of traumatic brain injury, two of the topics that have garnered the most press during our current military campaigns. The centers would most likely begin as independent wings of pre-existing facilities. Once significant progress has been made in these efforts, their methods proven by application, the plan would, ideally, be expanded to apply to a larger swath of our military, making treatments more readily available to soldiers and their families around the country. As the senators assert in their press releases, we owe nothing but the best treatments available to those who've volunteered to fight for our country, and many of their most serious wounds are not physical.

The idea that elected officials could oppose the passage of this bill (and there will certainly be some) is difficult to fathom. Though it will come nowhere near cementing the sea change required by the circumstances and the changing face of mental health treatment, it is certainly a symbolic step in the right direction.

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