DoD recently sent Congress a corrective action plan to improve mental health care for service members and their families. The plan addresses findings and recommendations presented to DoD by the Task Force on Mental Health in a June 12, 2007, report.
"DoD accepts the responsibility to make the changes needed to provide the highest possible level of care and support to our military community. To achieve that, we are working hard to develop a culture that supports robust psychological health across the services. To this end, we also have to offer choices for our service members, "said Dr. S. Ward Casscells, assistant secretary of defense for health affairs.
DoD's plan addresses six broad categories of recommendations in the Mental Health Task Force's report.
Major categories include:
Leadership, culture and advocacy .
Access to care.
Quality of care.
Resilience building and stigma reduction.
Surveillance, research and evaluation.
Care transition and coordination.
The department is working to provide a comprehensive integrated system of excellence in prevention and care, to meet the needs of individual service members and their families throughout the military lifecycle.
"We have a strong partnership with the Department of Veterans Affairs and the Department of Health and Human Services to build a safety net of care for our military families," Casscells said.
The Task Force on Mental Health was congressionally directed and organized in June 2006 to assess and recommend actions for improving the efficacy of mental health services provided to service members and their families. It includes seven DoD members and seven non-DoD members.
The departments' action plan can be viewed on the health affairs Web site at http://www.ha.osd.mil/asd/downloads/MHTF-Report-to-Congress.pdf.