Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee, a senior member of the House Committees on Homeland Security and on the Judiciary, released the following statement in response to the adoption by the House of Representatives of an amendment to the Defense Appropriations Act for FY 2018 that increases funding to treat PTSD by $5 million:

“Passage of the Jackson Lee Amendment is a victory for those who have risked their lives, safety, and health to preserve our freedom. The Jackson Lee Amendment provides an additional $5 million to help veterans living with PTSD, which, along with traumatic brain injury (TBI), is the signature wound of Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom.

“PTSD is one of the most prevalent and devastating psychological wounds suffered by the brave men and women fighting in far off lands to defend the values and freedom we hold dear. Not all of a soldier’s wounds are visible to the naked eye, and as we look to PTSD, we must redouble our efforts to properly treat this condition.

“One of the best ways to increase access to treatment is to increase the number of medical facilities and mental health professionals who are available to serve the needs of men and women currently serving and those who have become veterans.

“For those of us whose daily existence is not lived in harm’s way, it is difficult to imagine the horrific images that American servicemen and women deployed in Iraq, Afghanistan, and other theaters of war see on a daily basis. A suicide bomber, an IED, or an insurgent can obliterate their close friend instantaneously and right in front of their face.

“As American soldiers, they are trained to suppress the agonizing grief associated with those horrible experiences and are expected to continue on with the mission.  And carry on they do, with courage and with patriotism.  PTSD can develop following a traumatic event that threatens your safety or makes you feel helpless. Increasing funds for this disorder will also go a long way in helping those affected by this traumatic syndrome.

“That is why I am proud the House has adopted the Jackson Lee Amendment to the Defense Appropriations Act that would increase Defense Health Care funding for PTSD by $5 million. It is imperative that those who have answered our nation’s highest call to service receive the compassionate care and resources they need to ease their transition from active duty to civilian life, and my amendment promises to significantly aid that transition process.”

Congresswoman Jackson Lee is a Democrat from Texas’s 18th Congressional District. She is a senior member of the House Committees on Judiciary and Homeland Security and is Ranking Member of the Homeland Security Subcommittee on Border and Maritime Security

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