Henry Rollins contributes an essay to LA Weekly regularly; invariably informative, engaging, witty. This past week he wrote about Fort Hood, PTSD and the needs of our veterans. It is typically readable but uncommonly timid –“something must be done” but no bold initiatives.
Henry, your following far outstrips mine so should this find its way to you, please consider climbing aboard. If you know Henry, get this to him. I don’t want credit, I want results.
- We have too few trained therapists in America. Initiate a mental health Marshall Plan thru congressional legislation. Offer full scholarships to 5000 aspiring therapists for each of the next 5 years to obtain their credentials and licenses. Their obligation will be to offer counseling to veterans in need – pro bono – a minimum number of hours per week for the following five years. This will be a form of national service, no different than attending a military academy and owning x years of active military service.
- If we begin now, by 2020 there will be additional trained therapists arriving each year to meet the growing number of veterans who’ll be in need of their guidance. Yeah, some of us function for some time before breaking down.
- In the meantime, financial support from funded institutions must be provided to existing not-for-profit initiatives that coordinate pro bono counseling to veterans right now – such as The Soldiers Project. The VA has a 168 billion dollar budget, yet they guide veterans in need to TSP for counseling – because our care is confidential and because the VA lacks the resources to treat all that request treatment.
- Much like mortuary expertise, there will always be a market for mental health expertise. The demand will only increase; life is becoming ever more challenging and people from all walks of life are breaking down. We can just bemoan how unfair all this is – or we can become pro-active and take initiative. America can afford to do this. America cannot afford not to.
- To do nothing, to continue the wringing of hands is to align oneself with the cynical and hypocritical, as in asbestos litigation. “Maybe if we do nothing, they will die out and cease to be a problem” Yeah, we’re gonna die out, we’re busily at work on just that…but there are a lot of us. I for one intend to be making noise all the way out that door.