Hey, Funding for a Program That Actually Helps Wounded Warriors Is Running Out!
The Defense Department, the veterans administration, and the Obama administration are missing an enormous opportunity to help wounded warriors, indeed every serviceman and woman returning from battle overseas.
There’s a hugely successful program in North Carolina called the Citizen Soldier Support Program (CSSP) that maps data about the deployments of service members down to the local level, trains civilian health professionals to identify and treat those in their communities in need, and then connects the military, veterans, and their families with knowledgeable providers to deal with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), traumatic brain injury (TBI), and other behavioral problems that result from combat and repeated rotations overseas.
Here’s the rub: Federal funding has run out and the program is about to go out of business, despite memos of support from former Joint Chiefs Chairman Admiral Mike Mullen, two letters from North Carolina Senator Kay Hagan, another from four influential Tar Heel Congressmen (David Price, Mike McIntyre, Walter Jones, and Larry Kissell), and applause from virtually all who have looked at this effort.
The Citizen Soldier Support Program began with $9.8 million dollars from Congress in 2005-2007. The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill serves as host (who says academe doesn’t care about the military?). The focus is on military members and their families, especially in the reserves and National Guard, and especially in rural, sparsely populated, and other under-served areas — in other words, those areas where the military and the veterans’ administration aren’t reaching the people who need help.