As disturbing images surface in the wake of Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine, U.S. Senator Joni Ernst (R-Iowa), a combat veteran who served over 23 years in military uniform, is leading an effort in calling on the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to develop a comprehensive outreach plan to connect veterans—including those experiencing post-traumatic stress—to VA mental health services.
In a letter to VA Secretary Denis McDonough, Ernst and her colleagues write: “Images depicted in the media have the potential to impact all veterans, but they may be particularly troubling for the estimated 11–20% of veterans who experience post-traumatic stress after serving in the Vietnam War, Gulf War, Operation Iraqi Freedom, and Operation Enduring Freedom. It is imperative that the VA make every effort to reach these veterans and make certain they are aware of mental health services and supports as the war in Ukraine continues.”
Senator Ernst is joined on the letter by Senators Maggie Hassan (D-N.H.), John Thune (R-S.D.), Richard Durbin (D-Ill.), Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.), Bill Hagerty (R-Tenn.), Martin Heinrich (D-Md.), Mark Kelly (D-Ariz.), and Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.).
Full text of the letter is available HERE.