NGAUS Washington Report
(June 25, 2013) Pete Duffy, the NGAUS legislative director, blamed the stubborn rate of suicides in the military on a lack of interest and funding.
He took part Saturday in an event marking National PTSD Awareness Day in the shadow of the nation’s capitol in Washington, D.C. The event was sponsored by Honor For All, a coalition of concerned individuals and organizations that battle the impact of post-traumatic stress disorder in the military.
Duffy noted the 96 suicides in the Army National Guard last year, the highest rate of any service.
He said “low-hanging fruit” in the effort for the Guard is the presence of mental-health professionals embedded in armories during drills and training. That idea has the approval of Congress, but has not been funded.
He said the civilian leadership at the Pentagon must take post-traumatic stress disorder seriously for it to receive the attention it deserves.
A series of speakers included veterans and family members affected by PTSD, medical professionals who spend their careers trying to defeat it and congressional staff. Jerry Yellin, 89, a World War II veteran, said he suffered from PTSD for 30 years after the war without knowing what ailed him.