Veterans Face Long Waits For Mental Health Care

Today, Sen­a­tor Patty Mur­ray (D-Washington), Chair­man of the Sen­ate Vet­er­ans’ Affairs Com­mit­tee, held a hear­ing address­ing the lack of suf­fi­cient men­tal health care for return­ing vet­er­ans. Accord­ing to a report released by the inspec­tor gen­eral for the Depart­ment of Vet­er­ans Affairs ear­lier this week, it often takes far longer than the VA’s stated goal period of 14 days for first-time patients to receive a com­pre­hen­sive men­tal health eval­u­a­tion. Last year, more than half of return­ing vets had to wait an aver­age of seven weeks for an evaluation.

Get­ting our vet­er­ans timely men­tal health care can quite frankly often be the dif­fer­ence between life and death,” Sen. Mur­ray said in a statement.

In her open­ing state­ment, Sen. Mur­ray addressed insuf­fi­cient staffing and space avail­able for vet­er­ans’ men­tal health care, and sought answers to ensure that mil­i­tary men and women receive the cru­cial treat­ment they need to keep them safe from harm fol­low­ing their service.

Women’s Health’s spe­cial report in the May issue focuses on the men­tal health strug­gles among female vet­er­ans. As Julia Sava­cool reports in “Home Safe But Not Sound,” sui­cide rates are on the rise among women in the mil­i­tary after they return home from war, when they’re sup­pos­edly out of harm’s way. We inves­ti­gate the pres­sures fac­ing women upon their return, note the dis­turb­ing lack of female-specific men­tal health ser­vices avail­able to help them, and seek to dis­cover how we can pro­tect them.

More From WH:
Female Vet­er­ans: Home Safe But Not Sound
Sui­cide Warn­ing Signs
Causes and Cures of Post-Traumatic Stress
Invis­i­ble Soldiers

Women’s Health News Blog: Lat­est Health Head­lines and Tips to Stay Healthy

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