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National Council on Disability Says More Needs to be Done for Service Members and Veterans With Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and Traumatic Brain Injury
Date:3/4/2009

by all service members and veterans. This requires adequate staffing and adequate funding of VA and DoD health systems.

2. Mechanisms for screening service members for PTSD and TBI should be continuously improved, including baseline testing.

3. The current array of mental health and substance abuse services covered by TRICARE should be expanded and brought in line with other similar health plans.

4. Early intervention services such as marital relationship counseling and short term interventions for early hazardous use of alcohol and other substances should be strengthened and universally accessible in VA and TRICARE.

5. DoD and VA should maximize the use of Operation Iraqi Freedom/Operation Enduring Freedom (OIF/OEF) veterans in rehabilitative roles for which they are qualified including as outreach workers, peer counselors and as members of the professional staff.

6. Consumers should be integrally involved in the development and dissemination of training materials for professionals working with OIF/OEF veterans and service members.

7. Current and potential users of VA, TRICARE and other DoD mental health and TBI services should be periodically surveyed by a competent independent body to assess their perceptions of: a) the barriers to receiving care, including distance, cost, stigma, and availability of information about services offered; and b) the quality, appropriateness to their presenting problems and user-friendliness of the services offered.

8. VA should mandate that an active mental health consumer council be established at every VA medical center, rather than have this be a local option, as is currently the case.

9. Congress should mandate a Secretarial level VA Mental Health Advisory Committee and a Secretarial level TBI Advisory Committee with strong representation from consumers and veterans organizations, with a ma
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SOURCE National Council on Disability
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