Vet Turned Away From VA for PTSD During Mental Illness Awareness Week

| by Michael Allen

U.S. Army Reservist Maj. Leslie Haines was turned away from the Northern Indiana VA Health Clinic on Oct. 9 because the VA staff was attending a speech during Mental Illness Awareness Week.

“Do they see the irony in that?” Haines told the Military Times. “I was thinking, 'I’m glad it wasn’t National Suicide Prevention Day.'”

“When I questioned whether I could reschedule, I was told, 'No' and reminded that I had an appointment scheduled for the following month,” added Haines.

Haines says she has “high-level PTSD," which is made worse by her job of counseling troops and vets in Fort Wayne, Ind.

Northern Indiana VA Health Clinic spokesperson Jennifer Baran-Prall told the Military Times that employees were invited to the speech, but not required to go to it.

“There was only one instance in which a veteran was not contacted directly and was instead sent two notifications,” Baran-Prall told Military Times.

According to CBS Cleveland, Haines claims that she didn't get any notification and was unable to reschedule via the normal VA appointment line, but her counselor did allow her to come in the following week during his lunchtime.

Haines added that she received an apology from the Northern Indiana VA Health Clinic administrator, but filed a complaint with the VA Inspector General to prevent this from happening to other vets.

Republicans have often attacked the Obama administration for some of the poor health care that veterans receive, but the GOP blocked legislation to increase federal healthcare and education programs for veterans, noted Reuters.

Republicans opposed the $24 billion bill that would have created 27 new medical facilities to better serve veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars.

Sources: Reuters, CBS Cleveland, Military Times