Editor’s note: This blog post is written by Sherri Brown, Senior Vice President for Service to the Armed Forces here at the National Headquarters of the American Red Cross. It is in response to a recent news release from the House Veterans Affairs Committee on hiring more mental health practitioners to support care for veterans.
I applaud the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) for taking aggressive steps to ensure that our nation’s veterans continue to have the resources they need. Especially for service members returning home after a second, third and even fourth tour of duty in areas of conflict. Warriors are reintegrating into their communities by the thousands and many can attest to the challenges they are facing at home and work.
For the last ten years, our men and women serving in the U.S. Armed Forces have answered their country’s call to duty and are returning home from parts of the world where the constant threat of combat has become a daily routine. Now for the returning service member transitioning home, their new mission is reconnecting with their families, their communities, and the workplaces they left behind.
They won’t do it alone. It’ll take each and every one of us working together to support the men and women who’ve answered their country’s call. The Red Cross stands ready to do our part.
An integral part of the American Red Cross mission is to serve military members, veterans and their families. One component of our work with the military community is to make available licensed mental health professionals who volunteer and facilitate two programs designed to help strengthen awareness and build skills for positive family reconnection. Our programs are a confidential and no cost option available to the warrior’s entire support system, including family members, partners, significant others, friends, etc. They are one option designed to complement other available programs.
Lastly, I would like to extend a huge word of thanks to all who currently serve in the military, those who have served, and to the families at home who wait for their loved one’s safe return.