Capacity and Competency: Liberate the oppressed.
It is a given that our current VA system is broken. The problem of combat stress and reintegration is as old as war. In the modern era, our own Civil War called it "soldier’s heart". World War I called it "shell shock." World War II said it was "combat neurosis." Vietnam came closest with the identification of Post Traumatic Stress.
After each war the military struggled unsuccessfully to solve the problem by punishment, shaming, and half-hearted attempts, until the population of veterans died off. Each time the government punted, and left the problem to the next generation. It’s always been an entitlement issue, a budget buster, a dirty secret.
Out here in Los Angeles I walk the halls of Community mental health centers, Veteran Centers, Veteran Administration Hospitals, schools, public health clinics, and none come close to reflecting the knowledge we all know from the Mental Acuity Program (MAP), successfully produced this past year.
Even The National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) estimates that current health practices are 20 years behind the peer reviewed treatment models supported by research of the past 4 years.
We need to help the DoD and VA establish a distance learning, virtual classroom for health care providers to disseminate the advances we have learned from ground breaking research, and level the playing field of what works. Not five years from now after a commission studies the problem, not after an Army General at Fort Campbell orders his soldiers to NOT commit suicide because its bad for the Army?
We need to decide and act now. I do not believe the government is capable of solving this on its own. I think the money for this effort resides in the public domain, and the private sector.
When Uncle Sam gives the nations sons and daughters back to each hometown, its truly on each veteran to find his way, many get diverted by drugs and alcohol, to dull the pain, and never make it to the point of filling out the mountains of paperwork required of a broken, bureaucratic system.
In 14 states, they are denied “medical marijuana” which has proven effects to counter chronic pain and PTSD, in lieu of pharmaceutical chemicals that have horrible side effects.
Efforts such as the Call of Duty Endowment (C.O.D.E.) set an example of the way forward.
You and I both know that on every military base there is a crusty, old Army doctor, who joined the military, not for love of country, but to pay off his college loans, and never left. He or she resists change through the age old – DOCTORS ARROGANCE: “If I didn’t think of it, or if my medical school didn’t teach it, its not sound medicine.”
So, our service members go home, back to all 50 States, and there is NOTHING in place — but a broken VSO that encourages them to join, wear a funny hat, and drink at the bar with all the other members of the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW).
There is no mental health or health care, employment readjustment support, or critically needed services that can make a dent against the influx of injured veterans from the nations longest war in its history.
Its about capacity and competency at the local level, where people actually live, its not about a program at Walter Reed, or in Washington, DC. We need a campaign that says – VETERAN HEAL THY SELF.
We must build accessible knowledge platforms that tell them where they can go to get help, to take care of each other, to spread the word, to volunteer.
We must educate friends and families that the worst thing they can do is simply throw a welcome home party that includes gallons of hard liquor and beer, followed by a pat on the back for their service, and a wish of good luck.
These vets need integration, information, a job, a sense of belonging. I believe this can be done on the Internet, with streaming video, one community at a time, one veteran at a time, despite the inability of the federal government to respond.
The word will get out.
We know where to go to get the peer reviewed, medical science. We know how to turn it into consumable material, to train the trainer, via our proven method of video production.
We just need to accept the fact that the Cavalry is not riding hard, over the hill to save us. We just have to do it ourselves, and hope they catch up.
That’s my pitch. Lets go find the money, and put this information in the public domain. We can go into immediate production 24-7 for the next two years creating content, and populating a GO-TO web site, where anyone can access the knowledge for free.
We can populate an oversight board of nationally recognized experts to validate the content. We can do this.
Our governments current behavior is like that of the Catholic Church that insisted no one could talk to God, except through a Priest, until the Bible was translated from Latin into the language of the masses and a global reformations changed the world as they knew it.
Our Special Forces motto is De Oppresso Liber. So I say, lets get on with it, and liberate knowledge, and make it accessible to the masses.
Ken Robinson – Beverly Hills, California