Senate Considers New Mental Health, Brain Centers for Veterans
Sens. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) and Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.) last week introduced a bill to build at least two specialized medical centers for veterans with mental illnesses and brain injuries, the San Diego Union-Tribune reports.
The new mental health facilities likely would be part of existing military hospitals in regions with a large concentration of service members, including San Diego Naval Medical Center.
The Pentagon would have a deadline of six months from the measure's enactment to designate the sites. The bill also would require Pentagon officials to inform Congress of its efforts to reduce the shortage of mental health specialists at military hospitals.
According to several studies, 17% to 33% of the 1.5 million veterans of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan need mental health services for conditions such as post-traumatic stress disorder. In addition, one in 10 service members has experienced a traumatic brain injury, according to the Union-Tribune (Rogers, San Diego Union-Tribune, 4/29).