When a recruit signs up for the military, they swear an oath that they will go where sent, follow orders of the commander-in-chief without question and protect the United Stated and its interests even at the cost of their lives. We owe our military members a depth of gratitude.
However, veteran medical care needs improvement. In Iowa there are only two veterans’ hospitals which means that without private health insurance veterans may need to travel several hours to receive care, pay out of pocket, then wait to receive reimbursement. Many times, patients must wait for care or authorization for medical treatment.
One way the military could combat the problem is to increase the number of mental health counselors, psychologists and social workers they hire or educate. We believe that since the military trains people to work for various medical careers this would be a good way to solve the problem from within.
A reduction in homelessness among veterans is also needed. Addressing homelessness and mental health might help reduce suicide rates as well. There are more than 6,000 veteran suicides per year, that is about 16 deaths per day.
One option to promote improvement of veterans’ health care is to write to your legislators or attend a town hall to speak with Senator Grassley or Senator Ernst. Legislators won’t know that you care about an issue unless you tell them.
Nov. 11, is Veterans Day. If you know a veteran, check in on them. Also, remember to check in on veterans during holidays that involve fireworks like Fourth of July and New Years Eve because it can cause panic attacks in veterans with PTSD.
The Veterans Hospital in Iowa City takes donations all year. Suggested donations include books, puzzles, soap, gas cards and metro passes.
With the holidays approaching money is tight so another option is volunteering your time, either at the Veterans Hospital or at another charity that helps veterans.
Veterans’ healthcare, mental health and homelessness have been a long-term problem that will not go away overnight. However, we should all do what we can.
Categories: Staff Editorials