Fight Over Old Town Transitional Housing Facility For Combat Veterans Continues

It surprises me that so many people are missing the point here. There is no mental health screening done prior to entry into our armed forces. The mental health profile of our military men and women is the same as what you'd find in the general population. If someone struggled with undiagnosed depression, anxiety, addictive behavior or social deviancy (i.e. predatory behavior) before enlisting, there is nothing in the military training that would treat, cure or change that. Obviously, the guys you read about in the news who are attacking innocent civilians for the sport of it didn't learn that behavior in the Marines -- they had issues long before they enlisted. Just as the military isn't causing deviant behavior, it also isn't treating it. As a result, there is every reason to expect that a percentage of the patients admitted for care in the proposed facility - however small - will have undiagnosed problems that the facility isn't equipped to diagnose or treat. This has nothing to do with the facility being run by the VA... the same concern would exist if the facility treated civilians. This underlies the whole concern about the location. Just as there are smoke-free zones around city parks to protect children from potential harm, there should be ordinances providing a safety zone around schools that would prevent any type of mental health facility from being located in close proximity. That's not a statement that comes from ignorance - I've got a long family history of mental illness and have more first-hand experience than I care to have. This is simply rational thinking. Clearly, our society needs to place a priority on providing medical/mental health for all, educating our children, and supporting/retraining our veterans. Just not all in the same place.
— April 5, 2012 12:25 p.m.

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