Volunteers of America Hosts Briefing on Capitol Hill on Mental Health Issues Impacting Veterans


Contact: Vicki Bendure, Bendure Communications
540-687-3360 or vicki@bendurepr.com

David Burch, Volunteers of America
703-341-5054 or dburch@voa.org

Senator Tester

ALEXANDRIA, Va., March 8, 2019—Volunteers of America hosted a briefing last week on Capitol Hill on mental health issues impacting veterans. Speakers included Pulitzer Prize winning journalist and author David Wood; Senator Jon Tester (D-MT), ranking member, Senate Veterans Affairs Committee; and William P. Nash, M.D., director of psychological health, United States Marine Corps. Nash authored current Navy and Marine Corps doctrine for combat operational stress.

Wood and Nash discussed the differences between post-traumatic stress disorder and moral injury, a relatively new term that is being recognized to describe specific types of trauma that veterans are exposed to both on the battlefield and in traumatic day-to-day life experiences. As high veteran suicide rates continue, the panel discussed various types of mental illness and conditions potentially impacting the rates. The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs released data on 2018 veteran suicide rates that, in spite of efforts to reduce veteran suicides, the rates have remained steady at an average of 20 veteran suicides per day.

Senator Tester spoke on a Bill that he’s introducing. The Veterans Affairs Mental Health Improvement Act seeks to improve the mental health care provided by the V.A. including improved care during a veteran’s transition, suicide prevention resources, launching programs and studies on mental health, increasing oversight of V.A.’s mental health care and suicide prevention efforts, and enhancing V.A.’s medical workforce and telehealth services.

Volunteers of America hosted the event. The organization, which helps more than a million of America’s most vulnerable annually, has recently launched the Shay Moral Injury Center under the direction of Rita Nakashima Brock, Ph.D. The center builds on Volunteers of America’s work, spanning more than a century, of helping veterans and others who live with this emotional trauma. Rita is a nationally known author and speaker on the topic of moral injury.

Learn more about Volunteers of America’s work on moral injury.


About Volunteers of America

Volunteers of America is a national, nonprofit, faith-based organization dedicated to helping those in need live healthy, safe and productive lives. Since 1896, our ministry of service has supported and empowered America's most vulnerable groups, including veterans, seniors, people with disabilities, at-risk youth, men and women returning from prison, homeless individuals and families, those recovering from addictions and many others. Through hundreds of human service programs, including housing and health care, Volunteers of America helps almost 1.5 million people in over 400 communities. We offer a variety of services for older Americans, in particular, that allow them to maintain their independence and quality of life – everything from an occasional helping hand to full-time care. Our work touches the mind, body, heart and ultimately the spirit of those we serve, integrating our deep compassion with highly effective programs and services.