(Manchester, NH) – Today at Plymouth State University in Plymouth, NH, John Edwards unveiled a five-point plan to reform our nation’s system for treating veterans with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). A recent study found the number of Iraq andAfghanistan war veterans seeking treatment for PTSD from the Department of Veterans Affairs increased by nearly 20,000—almost 70%—in the year ending in June 2007. Today, as we observe Veterans’ Day across the country, Edwards proposed a comprehensive plan to address the difficulties that veterans of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan currently face in receiving treatment for PTSD.
Edwards’ plan would:
- Increase the time that service members spend at home between tours of duty
- Improve resources, training and outreach to help eliminate the stigma associated with PTSD
- Aggressively resolve the backlog of PTSD claims currently faced by the VA
- Provide a comprehensive medical examination for each service member upon his or her departure from the service
- Create a new national chain of care to ensure that no veteran’s medical care falls through the cracks
“Addressing the shocking increase in cases of post-traumatic stress disorder is an urgent moral issue,” Edwards said. “Warriors should never be ashamed to deal with the personal consequences of war. When our service men and women sacrifice so much to defend our freedom and secure peace around the world, we have a moral obligation to take care of them and their families. Our troops have risked their lives to fulfill the promise of a better America that we all believe in. We must stand by those who stand by us.”
In Plymouth, Edwards was introduced by former Army Captain Drew Sloan who served two tours of duty in Iraq and Afghanistan despite being badly injured in a Humvee attack in Afghanistan in 2004. After a year and a half of surgeries and physical therapy, Sloan returned to Iraq to continue serving his country.