Don't Skimp on our Veterans' Mental Health Therapy

Don't Skimp on our Veterans' Mental Health Therapy

January 8, 2016
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This petition had 81,880 supporters

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Started by Michelle Walker

My boyfriend Greg served in Operation Iraqi Freedom. He did his duty for his country, but it came at a cost. He was diagnosed with PTSD and started seeing a therapist through the Veterans Administration (VA).

His therapist is fantastic, and he often went over the allotted hour, giving Greg as much time as he needed during each session. Unfortunately, his therapist has been forced to cut each session down to a half hour, in an administration-wide attempt to manage their overload of mental health cases. I fear this could be a serious setback for Greg's health.

The VA is overloaded because our veterans’ mental health crisis has reached epidemic proportions in this country. This is not a time to cut back their mental health care.

Please join me in urging the Department of Veterans Affairs not to cut back mental health treatment for veterans and military families. The epidemic is only growing; VA care must grow with it.

In 2012, Obama signed an Executive Order to address this issue. The VA stepped up and hired over 1,600 new mental health professionals. But even with the new hires, the mental health crisis has not been solved. Now, just a few years later, all of those new therapists are so overwhelmed that the VA is cutting therapy session times in half so they can double their patient load.

So what’s the solution? The answer is pretty clear: the VA must continue to hire more mental health professionals until we see a drop in suicides and mental health-related suffering amongst our veterans.

Beyond hiring more mental health professionals, they also need to let those who work directly with veterans make informed choices about their treatment. The mental health professionals should be the ones making decisions about patient care, not the VA administrators. This change needs to happen if the VA is serious about the mental health of the veterans they are there to help.

My boyfriend recently said he’s not sure he will continue going to therapy once it’s reduced to a half hour. It will take him longer than that to drive there and back. If he stops going, I know that his PTSD and depression will only get worse. Having been to one of these shortened sessions with him and seeing how little he was able to discuss, I can understand why he is reluctant to go.

We can’t let this happen. We must urge the Department of Veterans of Affairs to stop cutting therapy time, and instead, hire more therapists and provide more treatment options for those who really need it. It’s the least we can do for our veterans.

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