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Mental Health Access ACT OF 2012 - Article Example

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When the war is over, the inner war of each soldier begins which is broadly categorized as post-traumatic stress disorder (PSTD). Suicide rate in the Army and Marine Corps are on the increase. One in every three soldiers seeks psychological help…
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Mental Health Access ACT OF 2012
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Journalism, mass media and communication, Article Topic: 750 word editorial to submit to USA today for possible publication on why I think the Mental Health Access ACT OF 2012 needs to be passed so it can help the nation’s veterans. At the front, the war veterans are part of the collective force. When the war is over, the inner war of each soldier begins which is broadly categorized as post-traumatic stress disorder (PSTD). Suicide rate in the Army and Marine Corps are on the increase. One in every three soldiers seeks psychological help. More and more veterans return from the 2 ongoing wars and involvement in wars at abroad has become the inseparable part of American politics, unfortunately though. The issue of an effective psychiatric treatment and care for our active and former military personnel is crucial. Delivering mental healthcare to this segment is a unique challenge that requires specialized training. Combat stress has become the inescapable part of life of a war veteran that results in psychological stress. The Post-Deployment Health Assessment for soldiers has revealed the alarming results of mental disorders for those who are engaged in violent war-fronts where they have to witness killings and bloodshed. The Mental Health Access Act of 2012 aims to improve and enhance programs and activities of the Department of Defense and the Department of Veterans Affairs to improve the levels of resilience of the veterans. Establishment of such a system to provide accurate and reliable measures for mental health services to the veterans is the need of the hour. The bill sponsored by Senator Murray (Democrat) and introduced on June 25, 2012 is the right step in achieving the desired goal. The bill broadly has the twin objectives. Pre-deployment training, wherein the soldiers will be counseled about what to expect in the front to enable them to be mentally tough and let them know how to handle it when confronted and the options available to them. Soldiers killing themselves and committing suicide is distressing news as compared to their dying in warfronts for a cause. According to the figures reported by the Department of Veterans Affairs the nation’s veterans who live through the conditions, post-traumatic disorders coupled with substance abuse have turned out to be serious ailments. Many ancillary problems like emotional numbing, sleeplessness, irritability, hyper vigilance, depression, anxiety and poor concentration makes their life tortuous. The authorities need to take decisive steps to prevent, inform and treat. The brave, faithful men and women who have sacrificed much and have dedicated their lives to serve the nation deserve more and their grievances need to be comprehensively addressed, treated and alleviated. The Mental Health Access Act of 2012 needs to be passed into law, without further latitude on the part of the political authorities, and it deserves all-out support, irrespective of party affiliations. It concerns the welfare of nation’s veterans who save the honor and objectives at the national and international level for which America is committed to. Veterans who need help for psychic disorders should be encouraged to do so well in time. What prevents the veteran from giving the true picture before the higher authorities is the fear that is being perceived as weak by superiors can pose a threat to one’s chances of career advancement. Depression and other psychological disorders should not go untreated for a long time, to avoid the genesis of suicidal tendencies. The veterans need to be guaranteed some level of confidentiality about their problems and the line of treatment they are availing. Senior Military Officers can play a pivotal role in disseminating the knowledge about the salient features of the Mental Health Access Act of 2012 as education proposed by the bill will help dispel such ignorance and myth and create a greater understanding and sensitivity to the plight of those in active service which should in turn further decrease existing stigma and fear or harming career advancement. More troops should come forward to avail the treatment. The immediate passage of the bill is the first step. The bill is noble, but to manage it in letter and spirit, noble individuals are required. Many of the social measures suffer at the implementation level, but this bill is too important to be treated with casual approach. It is a matter of concern that financially the military is unable to handle the requests for psychiatric care that it receives. Trained personnel and liberal budget should be made available, both at peacetime and during the course of war. Winning the war for the country is a priority, but the same priority needs to be given to health needs of the men who own the onerous responsibility. The bill is timely and important and it must get support from all quarters as it will significantly improve the amount and quality of care that is available to the veterans and their families. They have earned it and deserve it. Read More
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