As a nation we are currently experiencing a crisis among our returning veterans leading to unsustainable levels of alienation, unemployment, homelessness, and suicide. The stigma of Invisible Wounds is the leading cause of this crisis. Subjugation of this stigma is the reason for this petition.
The Federal Advisory Committee Act became law in 1972 giving the President and Congress the power to establish federal advisory committees as a means of furnishing expert advice, ideas, and diverse opinions to the federal government with special emphasis on open meetings, chartering, public involvement, and reporting.
In 1986 President Reagan established a Federal Advisory Committee to study the stigma of Breast Cancer. In 2005 President Clinton established a Federal Advisory Committee to study Gulf War Syndrome.
Today, the complicated and pressing issue of Invisible Wounds deserves the same official overview. With conviction, dedication and collaboration we can conquer this stigma, save and improve the lives of the wounded, restore dignity to their families, and bring understanding to all.
As our troops conclude their mission in Iraq and make the transition home, the impact of ten years of combat continue with increasing cases of veterans struggling to overcome the effects of PTSD, TBI, depression and survivor’s guilt. Coupled with this, our veterans face discrimination in the workforce, alienation from friends and family, homelessness, and, most grievous of all, persistent thoughts of suicide. This terrible progression of despair is predominately the result of misunderstanding and misinformation - the stigma of these invisible wounds. Bringing an end to this culture of silence and avoidance is the reason for this petition.
Traditional, entrenched behavioral health programs from within the government are proving to be inadequate. This is more than just a military matter. We are all involved. Not until society at large gets involved will this stigma be defeated.
Federal Advisory Committees have been formed before to examine and advise on breast cancer and Gulf War syndrome. Those presidential panels were singularly instrumental in channeling public concern into action. A wellspring of affiliation, they brought about effective collaboration and lasting impact on public opinion. Today, the pressing issue of invisible wounds deserves the same official overview.
Mr. President, we ask that you establish, under the authority of the Federal Advisory Committee Act, Title 5 U.S.C., a committee comprised of qualified professionals and distinguished laymen to advise on the present exigency facing our veterans and nation and personally lead us to end the stigma that has been attached to the psychological consequences of service on the field of battle.
With this collaboration we can conquer the stigma, save and improve the lives of the wounded, restore dignity to their families, and bring understanding to all.
Citizens for Honor and Understanding of Invisible Wounds