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Public Statements

Kerry Says Pentagon Report on Mental Illness Among Troops is a Wakeup Call

Press Release

Location: Washington, DC

Kerry Says Pentagon Report on Mental Illness Among Troops is a Wakeup Call

Senator John Kerry issued the following statement today, after the Department of Defense released a new report on the mental health of the military.

"The fact that 38 percent of the men and women returning from Iraq show signs of psychological symptoms should be a red flashing light that we need to do more to help these men and women," Senator Kerry said. "As we saw with the neglect at Walter Reed, it's the lack of proactive initiative by this administration that brought us here. Many of these soldiers have already had their jobs or families disrupted by deployment, and this report shows us that thousands may also be suffering in silence because of the stigma surrounding mental illness. Our troops give our country their brave service, and we owe them the very best care when they come home - including healing all the wounds of war - even those that might not be visible. I intend to work closely with my colleagues to address the recommendations in this report and to pressure the White House to make sure that we have sufficient funds to care for any of the soldiers who need our help."

Among the key findings of the report:

* Mental health care stigma remains pervasive and is a significant barrier to care.

*Mental health professionals are not sufficiently accessible to service members and their families.

* There are significant gaps in the continuum of care for psychological health.

*The military system does not have enough resources, funding or personnel to adequately support the psychological health of service members and their families in peace and during conflict.

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