Healthy Body Healthy Life’s mission is to help military families live healthier lives by providing resources and assistance that support healthy military families and healthy military communities. We provide the ounce of prevention that encourages good health. When able, we also provide support for treatment and healing, as we plan to add yoga therapy and mindfulness training to our list of skill-sets and resources. As such, we are committed to partner with like-minded individuals and organizations who share our passion for holistic wellness, from nutrition to physical fitness and psychological health, to name a few.
We are excited to announce our partnership with Congressman Tim Ryan, a powerful policy advocate for both mindfulness and nutrition. He is on a mission to integrate mindfulness into key aspects of our society, including health care, education, and the military. This is an opportunity to expand our outreach and grassroots effort to make sustainable changes in our military community. Be on the lookout for some exciting opportunities to have your voice heard! To launch our partnership and effort to reform military nutrition and improve support to service member and veteran’s mental health, we are honored to have him guest blog for us! Thank you, Congressman Ryan, we look forward to taking action together.
The staff and volunteers of HBHL wish you a happy Memorial Day weekend as we remember those in our community that have given the ultimate sacrifice for our freedom. Stay Healthy!
Guest Blog courtesy of Congressman Tim Ryan:
As we approach Memorial Day weekend, it is important to remember and pay tribute to the brave men and women who, for over 241 years, have taken up arms in defense of our nation. They did so knowing full well the risks they faced – including those we honor this weekend who gave the ultimate sacrifice. It is because of their service that we are able to enjoy the freedoms and privileges that we have today. The debt that we owe our Veterans cannot be measured in dollars alone; it must also be repaid through our actions. Whether its volunteer work at a local VA hospital or praying for their safe return, we can all do something to express our appreciation for our men and women in uniform.
As members of Congress, we bear a special responsibility to support those who answered the call to service. As co-Chair of the Military Mental Health Caucus and member of the House Appropriations Defense and Military Construction and Veterans Affairs Subcommittees, I have seen and heard first hand of the struggles experienced every day by the patriots who have dedicated themselves to military service. More than 16 percent of Veterans have been diagnosed with a depressive disorder. Up to 43 percent struggle with symptoms of mental health issues, such as drinking excessively, anxiety, and/or sleeplessness. These struggles have resulted in an unacceptably high rate of Veterans suicide. Every day 20 Veterans take their lives according to 2014 VA data – about 150% the rate of non-Veterans. The age-adjusted rate of suicide by Veterans has increased by more than 30 percent and among female Veterans it has increased 85.2 percent. These numbers are unconscionable. In the face of a growing mental health crisis amongst returning Veterans, it is clear the time to step up is now.
We need to enact comprehensive legislation that will improve the quality of life for our wounded warriors. That is why, together with Congressman Glenn “GT” Thompson, I introduced the Veteran Wellness Act of 2017. This bipartisan legislation would bring mental healthcare to our Veterans by establishing a two-year grant program to provide integrative wellness programs at Veterans Service Organizations (VSOs). Programs promoting yoga, meditation, and art therapy to help tackle anxiety, and ease PTSD symptoms have already enjoyed wide-spread success, and I am pleased to see these programs which have helped so many gaining in popularity.
With my bill, we have a real opportunity to provide our soldiers with comprehensive medical and mental health care upon their return from duty. The VA provides health care for over 6.5 million unique patients in the United States and it is estimated that they will be treating an additional 674,000 veterans of the most recent conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan. However, our most at risk Veterans are not receiving help through their earned benefits. 14 of the 20 suicides every day have not received any VA health benefits. We cannot wait – we must pair with Veterans Service Organizations, such as The American Legion and AMVETS, to reach our Veterans where they are and connect them to care for their mental health needs. The number of veterans who require our help is steadily rising and with this bill we are going to start repaying our debt to veterans with our actions. We can no longer stand on the side line. The time to act is now.