Army secretary visits JBLM, orders overhaul to mental health system

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by MEG COYLE / KING 5 News

Bio | Email | Follow: @MegCoyleKING

KING5.com

Posted on February 4, 2013 at 7:00 PM

Updated Monday, Feb 4 at 8:06 PM

JOINT BASE LEWIS-MCHORD -- The Secretary of the Army wants to see big changes in how the Army deals with behavioral health issues.
 
Army Secretary John McHugh visited Joint Base Lewis-McChord, armed with a change of plan in how to more effectively get soldiers the help they need.
 
The Army just completed its review of all behavioral health diagnoses dating back to 2001. McHugh ordered the review after dozens of PTSD cases at Madigan Army Medical Center were reversed. After much outcry many of the original diagnoses were restored.
 
The Army-wide review generated 24 findings and 47 recommendations, but McHugh said he wasn't ready to go into detail about what those were.
 
In fact, the talk Monday seemed more centered on how to prevent PTSD than on how to best diagnose it.
 
Sec. McHugh signed the directive for the Army's so-called "Ready and Resilient" campaign. The goal is to clear a more direct path to help for those who reach out for it, for commanders to have a better understanding of the programs available, and for the Army to provide career-long training resiliency training before, during and after deployments.
 
"We have a structure that provides Commanders the tools necessary, one stop shop informatoin across programs with visibility so we can intervene more quickly," said McHugh.
 
McHugh also addressed the alarming suicide rate which has gone up year to year and said the "Ready and Resilient" campaign is designed to improve outreach to troubled soldiers.
 

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