Congressional Hearing on Suicide and Homelessness: Mental Health Challenges Within the Department of Veterans Affairs

Ilona Meagher emailed the basics of the congressional hearing next week (December 12th) where she will be testifying. Below are the key pieces of information from her email.

Hearing basics
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Hearing held by: House Committee on Veterans' Affairs
Hearing title: Stopping Suicide and Ending Homelessness: Mental Health Challenges Within the Department of Veterans Affairs
Testimony date, time: December 12, 2007, 10 am
Location: 345 Cannon House Office Building, Washington, DC
Hearing page (no names up yet, but my invite is said to be official, now): Official web page details
Press release on hearing with usable details: Press Release
For more on the hearings, click Read More

Hearing background

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The focus will be on suicide and homelessness data -- and the fact that the DoD and the VA are not being proactive enough in gathering it themselves. That people like me our handful of volunteers at ePluribus Media have been attempting to do it ourselves to serve the need will be a point of shame, I believe, for them.

CBS News has finally begun doing it seriously via a recent massive statewide FOIA request which showed that 120 veterans (of all wars) committed suicide *per week* in 2005. It is this CBS News investigation and a study by the National Alliance to End Homelessness, showing that 1,500 OEF/OIF veterans are already homeless, that have been the catalyst for the hearing to be scheduled by Chairman Bob Filner [D-CA].

CBS News report

Homelessness report:

Note - Read a special post from Ilona requesting help to prepare additional data for her Congressional testimony - standingup

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I still get a bit perplexed about what is visible to all on the site, so forgive a repeat posting here.

Radio 3, the BBC heavily serious arts radio channel, had a play yesterday called "Soldiers in the Sun" that explores PTSD among UK soldiers in Afghanistan. It includes interviews with UK psychologists.

You can hear it on here . I think that it will only be available for a week.

Written by the poet Michael Symmonds Roberts, it gives a unique perspective on the problem. The play itself is interspersed with commentary by professionals in the field. It also discusses the latest British initiative in this area of health care - so it is both a drama and information source.Recommended

By way of explanation on one aspect, a major controversy in the UK is that soldiers now being treated for PTSD are no longer handled by special military hospitals but by National Health Service (NHS) Hospitals. The pros and cons of what some see as just a government cost saving move is discussed by the psychiatrists.