Stan Spangle Sr.: Bill aids vets’ mental health services

Jul. 18, 2013 @ 10:05 PM

First of all, I want say how pleased I was to see and greet all of the new faces at our last veterans get-together at Highland United Methodist Church. Of course the same goes for the “old” faces also. I hope that everyone was pleased and found information about the water contamination issue at Camp Lejeune to be helpful. I’m doing some research into getting information out quicker than every two weeks, so stay tuned to the Enterprise’s Opinion page for any updates I may have.
I also hope everyone enjoyed the “ all American” lunch. I like hotdogs, but I really liked the apple pie, which was a lunch appropriate for the Fourth of July holiday weekend.
Now on to information I’ve found that’s important to veterans.
Recently, U.S. Rep. Matt Cartwright, D-Pa., introduced the “Expedited Hiring of VA Trained Psychiatrists Act” legislation that would create a fast track process for hiring psychiatrists who train at Veterans Affairs facilities. This legislation was supported by Republican and Democratic representatives . This legislation aims to reduce the wait times for veterans seeking mental health services by reducing the time it takes to fill these critical positions. “We have a responsibility to do all we can to make sure the brave men and women who served get the care they need and deserve when they return,” Cartwright said, according to news reports. “This legislation speeds up the process of recruiting trained, talented mental health professionals into a career of caring for the invisible wounds of our nation’s veterans.”
The Retired Enlisted Association (TREA) received a press release from the National Institute of Health (NIH) which outlines interesting new medical findings linking PTSD and heart disease. Male twin Vietnam veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) were more than twice as likely as those without PTSD to develop heart disease during a 13-year period, according to a study supported by the National Institute of Health. This is the first long-term study to measure the association between PTSD and heart disease using objective clinical diagnoses combined with cardiac imaging techniques.
“This study provides further evidence that PTSD may affect physical health,” said Dr. Gary H. Gibbons, director of the NIH’s National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, which partially funded the study. “Future research to clarify the mechanisms underlying the link between PTSD and heart disease in Vietnam veterans  and other groups will help to guide the development of effective prevention and treatment strategies for people with these serious conditions.”
Finally, some “better” news about veterans’ unemployment numbers. It has been a very long time in coming but there is some good news for veterans who are looking for work. The June figures from the Department of Labor Statistics show a drop to 6.3 percent for veterans’ unemployment. In May, the veterans unemployment rate was 6.6 percent, so it’s a drop of 0.3 percentage points in one month. Furthermore, it’s below the steady national unemployment rate of 7.6 percent.  OoRah!
Semper Fi. Pray for the families of the fallen.

Stan Spangle Sr. is a 21-year veteran of the Marine Corps, serving in Korea and Vietnam. He’s a member of numerous veterans organizations. Representations of fact and opinions are solely those of the author.