This web site was copied prior to December 11, 2006. It is now a Federal record managed by the National Archives and Records Administration. External links, forms, and search boxes may not function within this collection. Learn more.   [hide]
Issues Services About Tom News
Senator Tom Harkin - Iowa
harkin.senate.gov
Photo - Natural beauty in Iowa Photo above shows hot air balloons in Warren County
Quick Clicks
Constituent Services
Resources for Students
Current Events
Resource Center
Photographs
 TEXT Only
 2006 Trip Journal
 2005 Trip Journal
 PODCASTS
 Tools For Journalists
 Biography
 Contact Me
Sign up for Email Updates from Tom Harkin

Search
 

XML feed



NOVEMBER 13, 2006

Doing Right by Our Veterans

As a proud member of American Legion Post 562 in Cumming, I know firsthand the patriotism of America's veterans - a patriotism not of words, but of deeds and sacrifice. Some members of our Armed Forces pay the ultimate price. Others - including soldiers and Marines I have had the honor of visiting at Walter Reed Army Medical Center - bear terrible wounds that they will carry the rest of their lives.

I have always believed that the United States Government - and we as citizens - have a moral contract with those who have served in uniform. We have a duty to ensure that our veterans receive high-quality health care.

An important component of this care is providing our veterans with high-quality mental health services. Too often, the physical wounds of combat are repaired, but the mental damage - the psychological scars of combat - remains untreated. Indeed, it is a shocking fact that nearly 1,000 veterans receiving care from the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) take their own lives each year.

This summer, I joined with Congressman Leonard Boswell in introducing the Joshua Omvig Veterans Suicide Prevention Act of 2006. This bill is named in honor of a young hero from Grundy Center who killed himself soon after returning from a tour of duty in Iraq. It would direct the VA to create a comprehensive program to address the growing suicide rate among veterans returning from combat in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Research has shown that we need a broader strategy for addressing the mental health needs of service members exposed to the stress and trauma of war. One study showed that about 17 percent of active-duty service members who served in Iraq have screened positive for anxiety, depression, or Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Taking note of this, I introduced legislation directing the VA to develop a comprehensive plan to improve the diagnosis and treatment of PTSD. My bill would require the VA to create a curriculum and required protocols for training VA staff to better screen for PTSD. It also would require the VA to commit additional staff and resources to meeting this challenge.

During my years as a Navy pilot, I learned one of the most important lessons of my life: Never leave a buddy behind. That principle does not only apply to the battlefield. It also applies after our service men and women return home to civilian life.

This Veterans Day, let us honor the service and sacrifice of our veterans by redoubling our commitment to care for and honor those who have fought for us. We must work to ensure that our veterans receive high-quality physical and mental health services that they so richly deserve.

Tom Harkin

COMING TO WASHINGTON? - Have breakfast with Senator Harkin

Wellness

Recent News - Click here for additional news items
Today's Top Issues
11/3/2006
HARKIN CONGRATULATES DUBUQUE DEPARTMENT OF HUMAN SERVICES FOR USDA HONOR

11/1/2006
HARKIN ANNOUNCES FIREFIGHTER ASSISTANCE FOR SEVEN IOWA COMMUNITIES

10/26/2006
HARKIN: BUSH’S BOTCHED POLICIES AND MISPLACED PRIORITIES FAIL IOWANS

Contact Information
MAIL SAFETY AND CONTACT INFORMATION
 
WASHINGTON OFFICE
731 Hart Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20510
(202) 224-3254 Phone
(202) 224-9369 Fax
(202) 224-4633 TDD
Email Form
OFFICES IN IOWA
Des Moines
Cedar Rapids
Davenport
Dubuque
Sioux City
Mobile Office
ABOUT THIS WEB SITE
Privacy Information
Accessibility Information
 

9/28/2006
Video of Senator Harkin making his remarks regarding the need for America to be tough and smart in the war on terror.  September 28, 2006 Video of Senator Harkin making his remarks regarding the need for America to be tough and smart in the war on terror

spacer

9/27/2006
Video of Senator Harkin making his remarks regarding Senator Jim Jeffords, retiring Senator from Vermont  September 27, 2006 Video of Senator Harkin making his remarks regarding Senator Jim Jeffords, retiring Senator from Vermont

spacer

NIH institute directors answer questions on Stem Cell Research (Excerpts)
File Size: 1.04MB

Acrobat Reader iconYou need Adobe Acrobat Reader to view this file.
Download Acrobat Reader


spacer

Sign up to receive Senator Harkin's Newsletters on issues important to you.

Email:
Zip Code:


spacer

Resources for Iowans
News
Constituent Services
Your Concerns
Agriculture
Contact Senator Harkin
Grant Information
Request A Flag
Visit Washington, DC
"Hill Mornings" Breakfasts
Nurse Advisory Committee

For Students And Teachers
Learn About the Senate
Internships
Material for School Assignments
Academy Nominations

For Journalists
Tools For Journalists
Printer-Friendly Releases
Columns By Tom Harkin
Harkin Biography