Defense Secretary Pledges To Fix Mental Health System
Department of Defense Secretary Robert Gates on Thursday during a press conference said that the military mental health system "must and will get fixed," the AP/Houston Chronicle reports.
Gates said that implementation of a proposal to provide troops with 30 days of rest for every 90 days of active service would prove difficult but added that he supports a proposal to revise a survey administered to military personnel by the Office of Personnel Management.
The proposal would eliminate from the survey a question about whether military personnel have received mental health treatment in the last seven years.
Gates said, "Too many avoid seeking mental health help because of the fear of losing their security clearance." In addition, he said that he would work "very aggressively" to implement the proposal.
A recently released one-year study recommended that Congress take action to address problems with the military mental health system within six months.
Gates said that he has "no intention of waiting that long," adding that he has ordered the completion of a plan to address problems with the military mental health system within 60 to 90 days. Gates said that troops "have done their duty; we must do ours" (Jelinek, AP/Houston Chronicle, 6/21).