June 07, 2017

Ranking Member Tim Walz Examines Ways To Improve Care For Veterans Experiencing Post-Traumatic Stress

WASHINGTON, D.C. --- Today, House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs Ranking Member Tim Walz (D-MN) released the following statement after the Committee met in open session to conduct an oversight hearing on post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) among veterans, a hearing which was initially requested by the Ranking Member. The Committee received testimony from numerous experts on PTSD, many of whom are veterans who have struggled with post-traumatic stress themselves. 

The hearing examined whether the Department of Veterans Affairs’ current system of health care services and benefits effectively promotes wellness and supports veterans with PTSD in seeking treatment. The committee also discussed the importance of peer support and innovative holistic and community-based treatment programs for veterans with PTSD. Of particular importance during this hearing were the following topics: (1) barriers to the use of Complementary and Alternative Medicines (CAM); (2) the implementation of the Clay Hunt SAV Act; and (3) legislative support needed for the VA to increase access to PTSD treatment for veterans.

“Our veterans have selflessly put their lives on the line to serve our country and defend our communities and in return for their sacrifices they have earned the respect and admiration of a grateful nation,” Rep. Walz said. “However, the terrible truth is that thousands of these brave men and women return home each year experiencing some form post-traumatic stress. This is through no fault of their own, as post-traumatic stress is a completely natural response for a human-being who has borne witness to the horrors of war. Simply put, there should be no issue more important to this Committee than helping those veterans overcome the difficulties of post-traumatic stress so that they may one day return to healthy, productive lives.”

“It is our sacred duty as Member of Congress to do everything in our power to combat the invisible costs of war. That means evaluating and implementing alternative forms of care and suicide prevention while eliminating barriers to these and other critical mental health services. Additionally, we must continue to fight to eliminate the stigma surrounding post-traumatic stress and seeking mental health care.”

“While the President and Secretary Shulkin have made ending the tragedy of veteran suicide a central goal of this Administration, we have yet to see much progress in the months since President Trump took office. I promise that I and every other Democrat on the Veterans Affairs Committee will relentlessly hold this Administration accountable to the promises they make to veterans and will continue to ensure PTSD treatment and veteran suicide prevention remain key issue for this Administration and for this Congress.”


Brendan O’Byrne

Veteran, United States Army


Sebastian Junger


Tribe: on Homecoming and Belonging


Zach Iscol

Executive Director

Headstrong Project

Veteran, United States Marine Corps


Paul Downs

Staff Member, Boulder Crest Retreat Team

Operation Warrior Wellness

The David Lynch Foundation

Veteran, United States Marine Corps


Dr. Harold Kudler M.D.

Acting Assistant Deputy Under Secretary for Patient Care Services

Veterans Health Administration

U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs


Accompanied by:

Brad Flohr

Senior Advisor

Veterans Benefits Administration

U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs


Statement for the Record


Cohen Veterans Network


Disabled American Veterans


Military Order of the Purple Heart


National Alliance on Mental Illness


The American Legion


Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States


Coalition to Heal Invisible Wounds


Vietnam Veterans of America