President Obama Promises Mental Health Help for Vets

Posted at: 08/13/2013 5:22 PM
By: Brianna Long

Some big news from President Obama over the weekend, that could have a big impact on veterans.      

"Today I can report that we are not where we need to be, but we are making progress, we are making progress," said President Obama.

With those words, spoken to a room full of veterans in Orlando Saturday, President Obama tried to assure them that their health problems will be taken care of.

"We are not going to let up until we eliminate the backlog once and for all and moving ahead with paperless systems so the backlog doesn't come back, and so your claims are processed right the first time, on time," said President Obama.

That backlog; more than $600,000 in disability claims by wounded soldiers. Part of the President's fix; a new claims system, and a $100 million grant to research centers dedicated to treating brain injuries and mental health issues, particularly Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.

"They've done their time, they've served their country, and yet they just get pushed to the side," said Archie Lewis, a former U.S Marine. He was medically discharged because of mental health issues. However, it took months for his claim to go through the V.A, so he could get some help.

"It takes a long time. You have to push and push and bug people and have to harass people pretty much just to get attention and the stuff you deserve," said Lewis.

While his claim finally went through, "I did get help, and I'm still getting help to this day," said Lewis.

He says he is hopeful that the president's promise will bring the same help to others.

"I'm glad that a lot of people that need help are actually going to start getting it because the things they go through, nobody can possibly imagine," said Lewis.

During his speech, the President also talked about the war in Afghanistan. He say as the war is expecting to be over by the end of next year, that will only mean more soldiers coming home, possibly with mental health problems that need to be dealt with.