Rep. Peters Leads Bipartisan Effort to Reduce Stigma Around Veterans Mental Health
Today, U.S. Congressmen Scott Peters (CA-52) and Walter B. Jones (NC-03) announced bipartisan legislation to help reduce the stigma around mental health injuries and encourage more servicemembers and veterans to pursue mental health treatment. The bill designates the month of June as National Post-Traumatic Stress Injury (PTSI) Awareness month and June 27th as National PTSI Awareness Day. It aims to reduce the stigma that comes with labeling post-traumatic stress as a disorder, and instead identifies it as injury stemming from military service that is treatable in the same way as other service-related wounds.
“Ask a servicemember about their injuries, and they are likely to show you the visible scars they wear from their service. What they are much more reluctant to tell you about are the mental scars and the less visible injuries they wear on the inside,” said Rep. Scott Peters, a member of the House Veterans Affairs Committee. “This stigma is what prevents many servicemembers and veterans from seeking treatment. It is my hope that dropping the negative connotation of the term ‘disorder’ will help lead to a greater utilization of the mental health care services. When we lose as many as twenty veterans a day to suicide, reducing the stigma around mental health injuries could save lives.”
“For over a decade, I have worked to find new treatments and improve therapies for our veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress injuries and traumatic brain injuries,” said Congressman Jones. “After all they’ve done for us, it’s the least we can do for them. By moving this legislation, we can increase awareness of PTSIs and hopefully advance the cause of giving our service members the best mental health care possible.”