NBC: Veterans Mental Health Issues Due to the Afgh. Pull Out

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VA SEC. DENIS MCDONOUGH TO NBC NEWS: “WE DID SEE AN UPTICK IN CONCERN” FROM VETERANS ABOUT MENTAL HEALTH FOLLOWING AFGHANISTAN WITHDRAWAL
On Religious Exemptions for Covid-19 Vaccines: ‘We Reserve The Right That Many People Being Unvaccinated Is An Undue Hardship On The Delivery Of Health Care’
 
Exclusive Interview Part of NBC News’ ‘Those Who Serve’ Series
In an exclusive interview with NBC News’ Courtney Kube, Veterans Affairs Sec. Denis McDonough says that the withdrawal from Afghanistan did have “an impact” on the mental health of some veterans, explaining: “If you think about the crisis that we’re dealing with, out of the summer in Afghanistan, the images from Afghanistan, the stories from Afghanistan, we did see an uptick in concern from our veterans.”
Asked whether he expects to approve some religious exemptions for Covid-19 vaccines for VA employees, McDonough tells Kube, “Because we’re a healthcare organization and we have to care for veterans in delicate situations there, we reserve the right that many people being unvaccinated is an undue hardship on the delivery of health careAnd if that’s the case, then we’ll have to deny some of those religious exceptions.”
 
He adds, But, again, I’m not gonna rush to the end of the story here. I’m gonna get the data, make those determinations on an individualized, fact-based casework and see where it brings us.”
 
The sit-down is part of NBC News’ Those Who Serve week-long series honoring the men and women who serve our nation, with in-depth reports on their service, sacrifice and bravery.
Please note, the below highlights are part of an early rush transcript.
[PLEASE CREDIT: NBC NEWS]
Sec. McDonough“We did see an uptick in concern from our veterans” following withdrawal from Afghanistan
“So broadly speaking, Afghanistan did have an impact on some of our vets. Those vets are seeking and getting care in a lot of different ways.”
 
“So if you think about the crisis that we’re dealing with, out of the summer in Afghanistan, the images from Afghanistan, the stories from Afghanistan, we did see an uptick in concern from our veterans. The kind of the best way to measure that is we had a 7% increase in the number of calls, texts, chats into what we call the veteran crisis line. So, that number moderated over time. And what we think we know about that is some veterans were impacted by those images and sought us out for care for the first time. Some veterans already in our care had an intensification of the concerns that they were working through with us.” 
 
On religious exemptions for Covid-19 vaccine for VA employees: “I’m not gonna rush to the end of the story here”
 
“Because we’re a healthcare organization and we have to care for veterans in delicate situations there, we reserve the right that many people being unvaccinated is an undue hardship on the delivery of health care. And if that’s the case, then we’ll have to deny some of those religious exceptions. But, again, I’m not gonna rush to the end of the story here. I’m gonna get the data, make those determinations on an individualized, fact-based casework and see where it brings us.”
  
On the politicization of the veteran community: “Doesn’t surprise me that even bad actors want to tap into that energy”
“Our veterans today are more diverse,  expectant of us to perform for them, engaged, and still serving. Right? And so it  doesn’t surprise me that even bad actors want to tap into that energy. So does it worry me? Yeah. It worries me. But what we need to be doing is making sure that we’re providing vets with the information access to care, benefits, services that they’ve earned, access to good sources of information that they need”
 

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1 COMMENT

  1. Have to say, the mental-health issues these vet face today are a lot more than how we finally pulled out of Afghanistan. How about the war crime of participating in the invasion of that benighted land in the first place? Unlike many of the grunts in Vietnam, these vets signed up for it.

    All of the 9/11 wars were wars of aggression. There’s no getting around this. In the judgment of the International Military Tribunal at Nuremberg in 1945, “War is essentially an evil thing. Its consequences are not confined to the belligerent states alone, but affect the whole world. To initiate a war of aggression, therefore, is not only an international crime; it is the supreme international crime differing only from other war crimes in that it contains within itself the accumulated evil of the whole.” (Wikipedia)