Top Official Calls For Quicker, Improved Response To Military Mental Health NeedsThe Associated Press: "Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, expressed frustration Wednesday with the pace of government work to heal the mental wounds of war. ... 'Shame on us if we don't figure it out this time around to make sure that doesn't happen,' Mullen said at a defense forum on the nonphysical injuries of war in Alexandria, Va., just outside of Washington. Thousands of troops are returning home from Iraq and Afghanistan with traumatic brain injuries and mental health problems such as post-traumatic stress disorder. And the military is working to stem a rising number of suicides among troops. ... Mullen said the Defense Department and the VA must do a better job in the decades to come to jointly solve the problem. Hundreds of thousands veterans from the recent wars have left the military and entered the VA's system for care. Veterans have long complained about bureaucratic hurdles as they've made the switch" (Hefling, 9/16).
Stars and Stripes: "Mullen's comments set the tone for a day of debate among mental health experts and military leaders at the Military Officers Association of America's annual defense forum. The chairman said that while millions of dollars have been invested into research on PTSD, traumatic brain injuries and mental health issues, military leaders have not produced enough treatment options and outreach programs to stay ahead of the problems. ... A recent study by researchers at the Naval postgraduate school and Stanford University suggests that nearly 35 percent of U.S. troops returning from Iraq will suffer PTSD, and urges Department of Veterans Affairs leaders to invest more in counselors and response teams" (Shane, 9/17). This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.