- The Washington Times - Monday, November 24, 2008

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

Thursday’s Page One article “Filner advocates ‘de-boot camp’ for returning GIs” underscored the tremendous psychological wounds faced by veterans returning from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

With one in five Iraq and Afghanistan war veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder, the “de-boot camp” proposal is on point. Mandating mental health screenings for allmilitary members leaving the service will reduce the number of veterans whose conditions go undiagnosed and untreated and will minimize the stigma associated with receiving mental health screening and treatment. Left untreated, mental health issues make service members’ reintegration a harrowing task and can result in unnecessary cases of domestic violence and suicide.

In addition to bolstering the Department of Veterans Affairs’ effort to ensure that returning veterans receive timely health and mental health services, innovative solutions that increase access for veterans should be considered. We need coordinated efforts at the local, state and federal levels to ensure that returning veterans receive the necessary care they deserve.

JAMES R. KNICKMAN

President and CEO

New York State Health

Foundation

New York, N.Y.

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