Honolulu, Hawaii - The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) today told Senator Daniel K. Akaka, Ranking Member of the U.S. Senate Veterans' Affairs Committee, it will meet his request for mental health care funding. VA will dedicate $1 million for improvements in mental health initiatives in Hawaii.
Earlier this month Senators Akaka and Dan Inouye personally requested that VA provide more money for services to Hawaii veterans who suffer from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).
"This is great news as we welcome home many of our returning servicemen and women returning from duty in Iraq," remarked Senator Akaka. "It is imperative that we in Congress work with VA to address our newest veterans' needs along with our oldest. Services such as readjustment, transition assistance, PTSD-related counseling are at the forefront of our priorities."
VA Under Secretary for Health, Dr. Jonathan Perlin, stated, "PTSD is a psychiatric disorder that can occur after the experience of a life-threatening event. This is a major concern for VA because of the activities and exposures inherent to military service. PTSD has been observed in veterans from all conflicts, including Vietnam and Persian Gulf theaters."
This past year, VA relocated the Hilo PTSD unit to Tripler Army Medical Center in Honolulu. Currently the VA facilities on Oahu serve an estimated 80,118 veterans, many of whom suffer from PTSD.
Senator Akaka will address what is being done for returning servicemembers in the last of a series of Committee statewide hearings on the State of VA Care in Hawaii FRIDAY on the Big Island at 10:00 a.m. at the Department of Labor Conference room located at 1900 Kinoole Street in Hilo.