Behavior related to PTSD & TBI is going undiagnosed and untreated. Without a diagnosis, behavior related to PTSD & TBI can be mistakenly viewed as criminal, in both civilian and military courts.
Many Veterans have injuries from their service; some are visible, but many are not. Traumatic incidents that could result in a PTSD & TBI diagnosis must be addressed prior to military discharge to insure that these men & women are treated with the respect they deserve for the service they have given to our country.
I am a US citizen who appreciates and is humbled by the sacrifice of our military. As such, I happily stand behind our veterans, and support any services they need to reintegrate into the country they so courageously defend.
Many members of our military find that coming home and fitting in can be difficult, especially when invisible injuries such as Post Traumatic Stress (PTSD) & Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) are present. I understand that studies on reintegration overwhelmingly show that military men and women avoid treatment due to the fear of job loss, lack of promotion, and the stigma associated with both PTSD & TBI. These studies also show that, without treatment, many military personnel experience feelings of isolation, hyper vigilance, anger, depression, hopelessness, and many other emotional setbacks that can lead to self-medication and self-destruction.
Many behaviors that result from untreated PTSD & TBI lead to expulsion, and sometimes incarceration. When these behaviors result in negative consequences, both evaluation & treatment of the disorder stops. In these circumstances, PTSD & TBI are not looked at as possible causational affects. Those that are expelled from the military loose all option of care for their disorder, and those who are placed in a military Brig, receive no treatment of any kind.
These men and women went to battle for me. Their suffering is a direct consequence of my desire to prosper and live free as a US citizen. I must insist that their suffering be acknowledged and dealt with. I am not suggesting their actions be ignored; I am suggesting that their actions and behaviors be evaluated concurrently with possible symptoms of PTSD & TBI.
I would like you to propose a bill that would REQUIRE combat veterans be evaluated and treated for PTSD and TBI when behavior presents that is outside of normal. Additionally, non-combat veterans who have experienced an identifiable or documented service related traumatic event should be included in this requirement.
Furthermore, I would like any decision for disciplinary action of veterans to include a full evaluation on PTSD/TBI status, along with any treatment needed. This information should be taken into consideration when setting judgment & consequences. Treatment should not end, no matter the consequences of their actions.
I would also require that commanders be subjected to reprimand for not taking responsibility of their personnel. Specifically, if someone under their command is found guilty of a crime while suffering from either disorder, and was not identified as a potential candidate for treatment, commanders should be found negligent. I understand that it is the duty of each member of the military to secure and protect each piece of equipment in their care. Military personnel are equipment under the care of their respective commanders, and should be treated as such.
I hope, after review, you will join me in working towards a solution to this monumental injustice that is currently being committed against the dedicated men and women of the United States Armed Services.