Military Mental Health Caucus

By Congressman Tim Ryan
(He will be a featured speaker at the 10X Summit)

Dear Friends,

The wounds of war affect millions of our veterans and their families on a daily basis, and I believe that one of my greatest responsibilities as a Member of Congress is to ensure our veterans are getting the benefits and care they have earned. Regardless of our individual positions on war, I believe we can all agree on one simple fact: Our veterans deserve the best care available—and it should be delivered in a compassionate and timely manner.

Veterans should never have been put on a waiting list or told that the government doesn't cover their medical bills. In addition, I believe that our veterans coverage have an array of complementary medicine options, including: acupuncture, yoga, and guided meditation—all of which have been show to transform personal lives and eased a veteran’s transition back into everyday life. I’ve seen firsthand the impact of these types of complementary medicine; countless veterans have shared their stories with me regarding how these approaches are helping them get a good night’s sleep for the first time in years, reduce stress and mend relationships within families.

I am deeply troubled that 22 every day commit suicide—this is a national tragedy and we must stop at nothing until we  make sure that help is available at all times and we begin to stem this tide. Simply put, this is unacceptable and our families, communities, and our uniformed men and women deserve better. As Co-Chairman of the Military Mental Health Caucus, I introduced the Veterans Mental Health Accessibility Act, which would eliminate the current five-year window to seek treatment for anxiety and mental disorders. This legislation allows veterans to seek treatment for service-connected mental illnesses regardless of when their conditions manifest themselves. The Veterans Mental Health Accessibility Act would ensure that the same services and treatments available to all who have served in combat are also available to those recently discharged.

In 2013, I introduced the Veterans and Armed Forces’ Health Promotion Act of 2013. This bipartisan legislation would take extraordinary steps to improve the quality of health care provided to wounded warriors by the VA and the Department of Defense. It would expand the scope of holistic care, education and research of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI). Further, it would establish complementary and alternative medicine pilot programs for mental health and pain management treatment for veterans. This legislation would go a long way towards dramatically improving the quality of care that our nation's heroes receive, and propel the VA and the Department of Defense towards innovative health care solutions for the complex challenges they face.

Stand with me to continue to advocate for our veterans and service members. Let’s make The Veterans and Armed Forces’ Health Promotion Act of 2013 the law of the land!


Tim Ryan
Member of Congress
13th District of Ohio

Sign this petition to tell Congress to stand up for our veterans!

Tim Ryan is a relentless advocate for working families in Ohio's 13th District. First elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 2002, he was sworn in to office on January 7, 2003. Successfully reelected five times, Congressman Ryan currently serves as a member of the House Appropriations Committee and the House Budget Committee. Congressman Ryan's primary focus as a member of Congress is on the economy and quality of life in Northeast, Ohio. He is a champion of efforts to make college more affordable, revitalize America's cities and improve the health and well-being of American families and children. His work on these and other issues has garnered the attention of the national media. The Congressman’s experience with mindfulness and meditation led him to publish a book in early 2012 called A Mindful Nation: How a Simple Practice Can Help Us Reduce Stress, Improve Performance, and Recapture the American Spirit. Ryan, who holds a law degree from the University of New Hampshire School of Law, is the younger of two sons, both raised by their mother Rochelle Ryan, with the help of grandparents Anna and John Rizzi. Congressman Ryan lives in the Mahoning Valley with his wife Andrea and two children.

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This article appears in: 2014 Catalyst, Issue 15: Summer of Peace - Inner Peace and Practical Action - Yoga, Veterans and Forgiveness Day