Secretary's Resignation Follows Announcement of New Funds for Vets' Mental Health
> 7/17/2007 2:14:04 PM

Earlier today the beleaguered and oft-pilloried Secretary of Veterans' Affairs, Jim Nicholson, announced his resignation, effective October 1st, citing a desire to return to the private sector. Nicholson has been criticized for overseeing the woefully inadequate and unprepared response to veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan. The resignation announcement came only a day after Nicholson made public a slate of improvements to the VA's mental health services, an aspect of veterans care that has lagged perhaps behind all others.

In recent weeks and months investigations and assessments have highlighted the many shortcomings of the VA in handling the health care needs of returning veterans. Long waits, ineffective screenings and stigmatization of mental health problems, including PTSD, have been cited as some of the issues that face the VA. The improvements announced yesterday aim to address all of those problems, with $37.7 million going specifically to fund more psychiatrists and psychologists to be placed in primary care settings.

The AP reported that two-thirds of the VA's medical centers will receive more staffing for mental health support. Funding is also going toward the creation of many new walk-in clinics that will help off-set demand at medical centers by handling less severe mental health issues. On top of readjustment counseling, these walk-in centers will provide marriage and career counseling, and could potentially play host to group meetings of many kinds.

Medical advancements have saved the lives of more men and women during this conflict than during any previous engagement. While soldiers' lives are being saved, many still return home wounded both physically and mentally. The VA finally seems to be addressing the needs of these brave men and women, and all that we can hope is that these new measures will not be a case of too little, too late, but instead the first of several efforts to right previous wrongs. Jim Nicholson's resignation may represent some short-term instability for the VA, but can and should result in ultimately better service and care for the men and women of our military. For their sacrifices, they deserve nothing but the absolute best.

No comments yet.

Post Your Comments

Post a comment
Email Address:
Verification Code:
Input the 8 characters you see above:


Drug Abuse
Sexual Addiction
Eating Disorders
Alzheimer's Disease

About TOL | Contact Us | Defining Behavioral Fitness | For Healthcare Professionals | Links | Privacy Policy