Today is Memorial Day here in the United States. We take this day to relax and enjoy the arrival of summer, but the holiday is intended to celebrate our veterans. We celebrate the freedoms that are ours due to the ultimate sacrifices of the men and women who serve in our Armed Forces. We owe them everything…and yet we so often forget to care for those who have given their all to protect our freedoms.
A recent opinion editorial in the New York Daily News highlights this obligation so clearly. Penned by Max Cleland and Daniel G. Amen, MD, it speaks clearly about how those who survive active service are left to bear the scars of battle. They’re so often discarded and disregarded. Suicide rates among vets remains high in the US, and while the physical scars and disabilities visible to the eye may be overcome, it’s often the mental scars that last a lifetime, sometimes becoming the ultimate undoing of our brave soldiers.
Simply put: they deserve so much better than what they get.
The article goes on to shed light on the failures of mental health diagnoses and medication protocols, the frustration and trauma that occurs when the wrong treatments are issued. It’s an issue so many face when attempting to arrive at the right solution for those affected, but the urgency to do more for those who have given so much is powerful in this article. It’s worth a read, if only to start a stronger conversation that protects these valued citizens of our United States of America. Their health concerns — visible and invisible — deserve to be addressed and with a greater sense of urgency.
They have given us everything. We must do more.
We celebrate our veterans today, those who have laid down their lives in order to protect our freedoms, and those who are still with us who suffer from mental health concerns. We and others are working tirelessly to protect your right to respect, a higher standard of care, and a stigma-free existence that allows you to enjoy the freedom you have fought so bravely to protect. With each step, we move closer to a day of hope and grace for all of you, and we will not stop until that day arrives.