Dunn fights for veterans’ mental health research

Lawmakers Push to Fund Further Study of Psychological Health and Traumatic Brain Injury

WASHINGTON, DC – This week, Dr. Dunn (FL-02) joined with several of his colleagues in urging Congress to continue funding the study of psychological health and traumatic brain injury at the Departments of Defense and Veterans Affairs. The Congressionally Directed Medical Research Programs (CDMRP) and Medical and Prosthetic Research accounts currently study this vital area of military medicine and are funded through the appropriations process.

“Psychological disorders and brain injuries are the signature wounds of our conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan. Since the beginning of Operation Enduring Freedom, nearly thirty percent of the Iraq and Afghanistan War Veterans treated at VA Hospitals have been diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD),” the lawmakers wrote. “Likewise, well over 300,000 service members have been diagnosed with some form of traumatic brain injury (TBI) since 2000.”

In 2012, more men and women in uniform died from suicide than in battle, and the Department of Veterans Affairs estimates that more than 20 veterans commit suicide per day. Recent research has linked concussive and sub-concussive brain trauma to accelerated mental health deterioration in the civilian population.

“Clearly, psychological health continues to be an area of concern for our military and veterans,” the lawmakers added.

Funding will be used for pilot studies of promising treatments, clinical trials of treatments that were effective in earlier pilot studies, and implementation of collaborative treatment research plans developed by consortiums of scientists.

Dr. Dunn is a member of the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs and served 11 years as a surgeon in the U.S. Army.