The Veterans Budget & Traumatic Brain Injury

March 1, 2007
During a Budget Committee Hearing on the Department of Veterans Affairs Fiscal Year 2008 Budget Priorities this morning, Rep. Brian Baird (WA-03) questioned Secretary of Veterans Affairs Jim Nicholson on the 2005 veterans budget shortfall and funding for veterans suffering from traumatic brain injury:

Rep. Baird has worked in a VA hospital, specializing in traumatic brain injury. This issue has emerged as yet another troubling problem in the way our government has been treating those who have sacrificed so much to protect us during the course of this war:

Military Mental Health Under Stress

Mark Thompson, TIME - February 26, 2007

Soldiers heading into Iraq lack the latest armor for their Humvees. Their tanks and helicopters are wearing out far faster than the Pentagon planned for. So, sadly, it should come as little surprise that, according to the nation's largest group of mental-health experts, soldiers returning from Iraq and Afghanistan aren't getting all the help they need from the government that sent them off to fight.

A report issued Sunday from the American Psychological Association said both troops and their families are going without much-needed mental-health care "because of the limited availability of such care and the barriers to accessing care." The report, issued by the association's Presidential Task Force on Military Deployment Services for Youth, Families and Service Members, said 700,000 children have at least one military parent now deployed overseas -- and that more than 2,700 have lost a parent in Afghanistan or Iraq.

"Deployment can be a complex, and for some families, overwhelming process," states Michelle D. Sherman, co-chair of the APA Task Force. "Deployment means extended separations and the uncertainty of having a loved one in a combat zone. The situation creates an environment in which the development of significant emotional problems for military personnel and their families is a real possibility."

ABC News Anchor Bob Woodruff, who suffered a traumatic brain injury in Iraq himself, returns tonight to discuss this very topic:

Amid highly personal stories of tragedy and triumph, Woodruff delves into the crisis of care faced by so many injured soldiers and their families, uncovering important new information about veterans suffering from brain injuries and the care the U.S. government provides. Woodruff meets soldiers who, after fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan, must fight bureaucratic red tape before receiving the treatment they need, and others who may not even know they're injured, as traumatic brain injury can go unrecognized.