The Department of Veterans Affairs announced Thursday that it would begin offering emergency mental health services starting July 5 to veterans with other-than-honorable discharges – following through on a departmental change that VA Secretary David Shulkin promised in March.
The veteran service organization, Vietnam Veterans of America, penned an open letter to President Barack Obama and President-elect Donald Trump, calling on the former to pardon all post-9/11 veterans who were discharged under less-than-honorable conditions without the due process of a court-martial.
U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Katherine Spessa.
Since returning from his second deployment to Afghanistan, Army Spc. Scott Miller had been through several stays at a mental health hospital. But after Christmas, the thoughts about taking his own life were joined by new ones about killing members of his unit.
After hearing he had been stop-lossed and would be heading back to Iraq for a second time, Kristofer Goldsmith decided to end his life. Going back to war acted as a trigger to his ongoing and undiagnosed post-traumatic stress disorder that he had been silently suffering since returning home from his first deployment. In May 2007, the young Army sergeant washed down opiates with vodka and walked into a field.