Veterans fight for mental health benefits

Sen. Chris Murphy visited New Haven City Hall Monday alongside combat veterans from western Connecticut to push a bill in Congress that would guarantee mental health benefits to veterans suffering from mental trauma.



The proposed bill follows an ongoing fight by veterans who say they have been punished for having post-traumatic stress disorder and would provide mental health benefits to those who have received an Other Than Honorable discharge due to complications with mental health.



Thomas Burke, a US Marine Corps veteran from Bethel, attended Monday's meeting and shared his story with PTSD and his struggles with attempted suicide on two accounts.



Burke says an Other Than Honorable discharge is similar to being fired from a job and results in denial of mental health coverage.



The Army says at least 73 soldiers have been wrongly discharged for PTSD behaviors, but a review from National Public Radio claims the total is around 22,000.



While Murphy stressed that the bill will only cover mental health benefits, he also said he'd like to go a step further and eventually guarantee the veterans full medical benefits.


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