With so many in our area serving in the Armed Forces, the following story is an item I chose to publish, even though it falls slightly outside our coverage area. Ben Sclair, Publisher
The Department of Defense (DoD) Task Force on Mental Health will meet Jan. 22-23, Sheraton Tacoma Hotel, 1320 Broadway Plaza, Tacoma, Washington. The room location of the meeting will be posted in the hotel lobby.
The public and media are invited to attend the open sessions. The meetings provide an opportunity for attendees to hear briefings on mental health related topics. Sessions will be from 8 a.m. & noon, Mon., Jan. 22, and 3 & 5:30 p.m., Tues., Jan 23. Meeting agendas area available here.
Testimony to the Task Force during the open meeting on Tuesday should be in the form of a statement rather than a briefing or presentation, and should be no longer than 10 minutes. However, written statements of any length may be submitted to the Task Force here. Beneficiaries who may not wish to speak publicly or who are unable to attend the meeting may submit their statements at this link.
According to the Task Force co-chairs, members want to hear from beneficiaries and veteran and military service organizations about all aspects of mental health care, including access, quality & even the stigma associated with seeking this care. They are also interested in understanding how deployments impact children and spouses, and about care received from civilian practitioners.
The Task Force was established at the direction of Congress and will submit a report to Secretary of Defense in May 2007 that will include an assessment of, and recommendations for improving the effectiveness of mental health services provided to service members.
The Task Force consists of seven DoD members and seven non-DoD members. It is co-chaired by Lt. Gen. Kevin Kiley, Army Surgeon General and Dr. Shelley M. MacDermid, Associate Professor in the Department of Child Development and Family Studies, Purdue University and the Co-Director for the Military Family Research Institute at Purdue.
For a list of members of the DoD Mental Health Task Force, click here.
Point of contact for public or media inquiries is Cynthia Vaughan, 703-681-0519.