A former Gitmo military policewoman who headed into her local VA clinic earlier this month for a regular appointment to cope with her PTSD learned that her and other vets' sessions been canceled, because the staff was attending an inspirational speech for Mental Illness Awareness Week.
Maj. Leslie Haines, now an Army reservist after that tour in Guantanamo Bay and another in Iraq, was one of 19 veterans at two different VA-run complexes in northern Indiana whose mental health appointments were canceled so staffers cold earn "continuing education credits" for listening to the speaker, Military Times reports:
The session had been on the books for months; Haines says she attends appointments like clockwork to treat her "high-level PTSD, that's often exacerbated" by her civilian job — counseling troops and veterans.
But on Oct. 9, the clinic receptionist told Haines her appointment that day had been canceled.
Mental Illness Awareness Week...
"Do they see the irony in that?" Haines said. "I was thinking, I'm glad it wasn't National Suicide Prevention Day."
Haines—who herself works with troubled vets as the director of Lutheran Military Veterans and Families Ministries—worked directly with her counselor to get a makeup session on a lunch break, and she's filed a grievance with the VA over how the original session got canceled. "This was definitely one for the 'you can't make this [shit] up' file," she told Military Times.