Last week, Boise Police Department Chief Mike Masterson penned a letter to the Idaho congressional delegation asking them to do more for war veterans that may be afflicted with stress disorders sustained as a result of duty in combat.
Masterson said he is concerned that veterans are not receiving proper screening before leaving the service and urged the Idaho lawmakers to "to work with all branches of our military, our Veteran’s Affairs groups and VA hospitals, and strive to improve and expand the safety net that must cover our veterans."
On Wednesday, lawmakers responded to the letter. Here are their responses:
From Sen. Mike Crapo's spokesman Lindsay Nothern: "While Senator Crapo cannot comment directly on this particular incident involving the Boise Police and this individual, he has been concerned about PTSD and believes more should be done to assist returning veterans.
Both Crapo and Senator Risch have made funding requests specific to PTSD and Idaho efforts at research and treatment in the past and continue to bring the issue to the attention to colleagues.
Crapo feels much more needs to be done regarding the diagnosis and treatment of PTSD. Besides the obvious dollar issue, Congress and the military have been working together to outline things like resources and equipment for screeners and supervisors to diagnose, better equipment in the field to prevent, and better systems to identify these individuals."
From Senator Jim Risch's spokesman Kyle Hines: "Senator Risch... agrees more needs to be done to diagnose and treat post traumatic stress disorder and traumatic brain injury in our active duty, reserves and veterans. He has supported legislation that provides resources like more training for doctors and mandatory screenings to diagnose and treat PTSD and TBI. While there has been progress in detecting and treating these illnesses in their early stages, clearly there is still work to be done."
From Rep. Walt Minnick's spokesman Dean Ferguson: "As a Vietnam-era veteran, I have observed firsthand, in acquaintances, the affects of what now is called Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. I recall a whole ward full of Vietnam vets in the 1990s who were still fighting the demons of their experiences in Vietnam. By recognizing and treating the condition, we can help Iraq and Afghanistan war veterans to quickly recover and lead productive lives. We had a generation of American soldiers who were never able to lead normal lives outside of institutions. I want to thank Chief Masterson for taking the lead in building public awareness and support for this issue for veterans and their families and their communities.”
From Rep. Mike Simspon's spokesman Nikki Watts: “Incidents like this make it clear that we must do more to ensure our veterans are receiving the best treatment and care both on and off the battlefield. I am proud that the Appropriations Committee has made significant investments in funding for veterans, including a 60% increase in funding in the past three years for mental health programs to better diagnose and treat PTSD and to train mental health professionals treating veterans,” said Congressman Mike Simpson. “We must improve our system of screening, diagnosis and treatment so that our veterans are receiving the care they need and deserve."