Author Archives: Fred Wellman

Veterans Roundup: VA Scandal Widens to Include VBA, VA Secretary Nominee to Appear Before the Senate

Study: Indirect Link Between Combat and Suicide Risk
Gregg Zoroya (@greggzoroya), USA Today. The increasing rate of veteran suicide in recent years, from 18 per day in 2007 to 22 per day in 2013, was examined in a paper published last Thursday. Despite rising numbers, no specific cause can be reported with absolute certainty for military suicides. However, the report does note that along with military suicides, the number of reported mental health problems in the military have surged. Periods of transition like returning from combat, leaving the military, or growing old are times when veterans with mental health problems are most vulnerable to suicidal thoughts, the study reports. –MC

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Veterans Roundup: Focus on Veterans’ Mental Health, Two-Thirds of GI Bill Dollars in CA Going to For-Profits

Are Budget Battles Slowing Health Care Reforms for Veterans?
Stacy Kaper (@KaperSLK), National Journal. After failing to send reforms to the President before the Fourth of July recess, Congress is under pressure to produce legislation stopping veterans from dying while waiting for medical care. The biggest challenge facing lawmakers is the estimated $50 billion yearly budget by the Congressional Budget Office (CBO). Although a new budget estimate came out to $30 billion on Friday, funding remains a major challenge. As veterans groups continue pushing for change, the House and the Senate may have to rely on several alternative sources for funding. –MC
Bottom Line: With only about 30…

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Veterans Roundup: Veterans More Resilient than Civilians Gallup Finds, Writing about War as Therapy

Veterans Tame Their Toughest Memories, One Story at a Time
Corinne Reilly (@CorinneReilly), The Virginian-Pilot. Writing dry reports about atrocities in Bosnia, Rwanda, Iraq, Afghanistan, and Darfur was what first got Ron Capps (@ron_capps) writing in his free time about the effects of war he saw and felt. The horrors that the Army veteran and State Department official had seen took its toll on Capps’ mental health and he eventually retired from the non-profit sector in 2008. It was then he enrolled in a graduate writing program and found the classroom experience of writing about his traumatic experiences helped him more than therapy or pharmaceuticals. Capps founded the Veterans Writing…

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Veterans Roundup: Bob McDonald to be Nominated as VA Secretary, DOD Medical Facilities Failing Patients

PTSD And The Civil-Military Divide

Fred Wellman, Task & Purpose. For PTSD Awareness Day, our fearless leader Fred wrote for Task & Purpose about the lack of context surrounding PTSD that is fueling the civil-military divide. Most Americans suffering from PTSD aren’t veterans but rather millions of civilians who’ve survived car accidents, rape, and other trauma. Fred said it’s time that veterans recognize civilians suffer from PTSD, too. Rather than allow stereotypes about PTSD to fester, both civilians and veterans can use the shared experience as a way to start a bigger conversation between the 99 percent and the 1 percent. –LJ

Statement on Nomination of Robert McDonald

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Defense & Veterans Roundup: VA Releases Results of Internal Audit, IVMF and SBA Expand Entrepreneurship Training

The Military’s Mental Health Epidemic Is Being Made Worse By The VA

Juan Carlos Llorca, Associated Press. The VA health care delay scandal doesn’t discriminate when it comes to physical or mental health care. New mental health patients are supposed to be able to see a doctor within 14 days, but the recent VA audit found none of its 141 parent medical facilities could meet that goal. While physical conditions may appear to be critical, mental health crises may not get the same urgency. Long waits can have a particularly insidious effect on veterans seeking mental health care to include increasing a sense of hopelessness and isolation. Long wait…

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