Monday, September 29, 2008

Don't deprive veterans of Montrose facility

Comment sent into Lower Hudson Journal news - West Harrison,NY,USA from member of NAMI

• September 29, 2008

Don't deprive veterans of Montrose facility
The decision on the part of the Department of Veterans Affairs to turn over 100 acres of the 184 acres of the Montrose VA facility to developers is quietly "moving too fast and in the wrong direction," according to Cortlandt Town Supervisor Linda Puglisi and advocates for veterans rights. As the sister of a Vietnam veteran, I saw first-hand the devastating effects that war has on the human mind and spirit. I also believe that these facilities built to serve the needs of our veterans stand on sacred land bought and paid for with profound human suffering.

According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, approximately 500,000 veterans have a service-connected disability due to a mental illness. Other than orthopedic problems, mental health is the second largest area of need for veterans.

Understanding the crippling effects of post-traumatic stress disorder and the disproportionate percentage of substance abuse and suicides among veterans, it would seem that the Montrose VA would be expanding access to inpatient and outpatient treatment, housing, and supportive services that would enable these wounded warriors to partake of the American ideal that led them to serve in the first place.

Castle Point is not an acceptable alternative. How many Washington bureaucrats would sit still if their doctors expected them to travel 25 miles further from home for treatment?

I urge every citizen of Westchester County to speak out at the forum at the Montrose Complex on Oct. 14. Contact Sens. Hillary Clinton and Charles Schumer and your local representatives.

Brigid E. Kenney


The writer is a board member, National Alliance on Mental Illness of Westchester.

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