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Expand Mental Health Care for Veterans Says CNAS Scholar in New Report

December 5, 2013 Comments off

Expand Mental Health Care for Veterans Says CNAS Scholar in New Report
Source: Center for a New American Security

Although the VA will spend nearly $7 billion this year on mental health care for veterans, CNAS Senior Fellow Phillip Carter argues in Expanding the Net: Building Mental Health Care Capacity for Veterans, this is not likely to be enough. The report urges the VA to rely more on the private sector and work more closely with local community and private philanthropic organizations.

Among his specific recommendations, Mr. Carter proposes that the VA develop and share mental health care data, pursue a portfolio approach that invests in the most promising care models, develop a wraparound information environment that integrates with the private and philanthropic sectors, build a human capital pipeline of mental health care personnel, and invest in emerging technologies, such as telemedicine. The additional investment is essential, says Mr. Carter, as “those receiving treatment do better in managing their post-traumatic stress or traumatic brain injury and are less likely to commit suicide.”

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Employing America’s Veterans: Perspectives from Businesses

June 15, 2012 Comments off
Source:  Center for a New American Security
Hiring veterans is good for business, according to a detailed study released today by two experts at the Center for a New American Security (CNAS).  In Employing America’s Veterans: Perspectives from Businesses, Dr. Margaret C. Harrell, CNAS’ Director of the Military, Veterans and Society Program, and Non-Resident Senior Fellow Nancy Berglass convey their findings based on extensive interviews of 87 representatives from 69 companies. The authors report that the companies articulated 10 reasons for hiring veterans, including leadership and teamwork skills, character, structure and discipline, expertise, effectiveness, and loyalty.
But, they note, businesses also raised some challenges associated with hiring veterans, such as translating how skills learned in the military are useful in the civilian workplace, negative stereotypes and concerns about future deployments.

Losing the Battle: The Challenge of Military Suicide

November 4, 2011 Comments off

Losing the Battle: The Challenge of Military Suicide
Source: Center for a New American Security

Losing the Battle: The Challenge of Military Suicide, by Dr. Margaret Harrell, CNAS Senior Fellow and Director of the Joining Forces Initiative, and Nancy Berglass, CNAS Non-Resident Senior Fellow, suggests that the health of the all-volunteer force is dependent on our nation’s ability to take care of its service members and veterans.

According to the report, “Suicide among service members and veterans challenges the health of America’s all-volunteer force.” From 2005 to 2010, service members took their own lives at a rate of approximately one every 36 hours. This tragic phenomenon reached new extremes when the Army reported a record-high number of suicides in July 2011 with the deaths of 33 active and reserve component service members reported as suicides. Additionally, the Department of Veterans Affairs estimates 18 veterans die by suicide each day. Yet the true number of veterans who die by suicide, as Harrell and Berglass point out, is unknown. As more American troops return home from war, this issue will require increasingly urgent attention.

Harrell and Berglass present a number of concrete policy recommendations that will help reduce the number of service member and veteran suicides, including establishing an Army unit cohesion period; removing the congressional restriction on unit leaders discussing personally owned weapons with service members; and increasing coordination between the Department of Defense (DOD), the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) and the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to improve the analysis of veteran suicide data. Despite the efforts of the DOD and the VA to address military suicide, obstacles remain, and policymakers must bring a renewed urgency to their efforts if America is to both honor the sacrifices made by the all-volunteer force and protect its future health and ability to defend the nation.

+ Full Report (PDF)

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