Congresswoman Adams Announces House Passage of Her NDAA Amendment Which Recommends Changes to DOD’s Handling Of Service Members With PTSD
Washington, D.C. – Congresswoman Alma S. Adams (NC-12) today announced House passage of her amendment to the FY 16 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). Congresswoman Adams’ amendment recognizes the impact of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) on service members and their families. It also recommends changes to the Department of Defense’s (DOD) handling of services for members with PTSD. Congresswoman Adams’ amendment passed the House on May 15, 2015.
“Our servicemen and women put their lives on the line to protect our country and deserve to have access to the best treatment possible when they return home,” said Congresswoman Adams. “My amendment recommends that DOD implement changes to ensure our service members with PTSD can access the resources and treatment they need.”
Congresswoman Adams’ amendment seeks to recognize Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder as a disorder that deeply affects service men and women and their families. The amendment recommends that the Department of Defense implement changes that support PTSD therapies and empower service members to reconnect with their families. The amendment also recommends that DOD measure over five years the effectiveness of its mental health programs. Adams’ amendment has been endorsed by the National Guard Association of the United States.
On Wednesday, May 13, Congresswoman Adams presented her amendment to NDAA during a House Rules Committee hearing. Below are her remarks as prepared for delivery:
“Thank you Mr. Chairman. I appreciate the opportunity to present my amendment. Many of our service men and women struggle with post-traumatic stress disorder and other mental health conditions when they return home. My amendment is an opportunity for Members to express our support for those who have sacrificed so much to protect our country.
“My amendment expresses the Sense of Congress that Post Traumatic Stress Disorder is a complex mental health condition that not only impacts service members, but also their families. It recommends that the Department of Defense provide family counseling and individual counseling services that not only reduce the symptoms of post-traumatic stress and other behavioral health disorders, but also empowers service members to be emotionally available to their spouses and children. It also asks that the Department of Defense use standards developed by the medical community for individual and family counseling.
“Lastly, it recommends that the Department conduct a five-year study of the progress of members that are treated for mental health disorders. Such a report should include:
a) Difficulty keeping up with treatment
b) Familial status before and after treatment
c) Access to mental health counseling at department facilities and military installations
“It is clear that both the Department of Defense and the House Armed Services Committee recognize that Post Traumatic Stress Disorder is a serious problem for service members and their families. My amendment builds on the language already in the committee report that the Department take a holistic approach to treatment of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, and that it collaborate with research entities to develop new therapies.
“Mr. Chairman, while there is agreement that we need to do more for our service members who live with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, we must also become more “trauma aware”. This means recognizing that the traumatic experiences of combat can often intensify or exacerbate previous life experiences or periods of emotional distress in the life of service member. This is why we very much need therapies that take a comprehensive approach to trauma and the full-scope of PTSD’s life-changing impact on a service member and their family.
“In closing, I thank the Committee for your time and ask that my amendment be accepted for consideration.”