Senator Boxer: Improving Veterans’ Mental Health Care   

Wednesday, August 18, 2010  

Dear Friend:

I recently had the honor of participating in a ceremony marking an important milestone in the construction of the VA Palo Alto Health Care System’s new Mental Health Center.  To view photos of this event, click here.

Before the ceremony, I met with VA Palo Alto Director Lisa Freeman and her dedicated doctors and staff, who briefed me on their vital work in mental health and multiple trauma treatment.  I also met some of the young servicemembers who have sacrificed for our country and who represent America’s very best.  We can never fully repay them for their sacrifice, but we can make sure they have access to the best health care in the world and the opportunity for a bright and successful future.

Facilities such as this Mental Health Center are now more important than ever.  As we have learned, many of the signature injuries of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are invisible to the eye, but that does not make these injuries any less real or any easier to overcome.  That is one reason why improving mental health care for our men and women in uniform has been a top priority for me.

A few years ago, I was honored to write legislation that established the Department of Defense Task Force on Mental Health.  This task force was a crucial step in helping to ensure that all our service men and women have access to the best mental health care we can provide.

Over the past few years, the leadership at the Departments of Defense and Veterans Affairs has recognized that these injuries are just as significant as any other injury sustained in combat.  The stigma of seeking care has been reduced, the quality of care we provide has been improved, and those who used to suffer in the shadows can now feel more comfortable seeking the care they deserve.

We have come a long way, but there is still more work to be done.  The new VA Mental Health Center in Palo Alto represents our commitment to giving all of our service men and women the best possible care.

This state-of-the-art 80-bed facility is something that we can all be proud of.  And its legacy of success will be the care it provides, along with the hope it brings to those who are treated here.

Sincerely,

Barbara Boxer, US Senator, California
U.S. Senator Barbara Boxer