After the mass shooting at The Navy Yard earlier this week, the majority of the press has been in regard to Aaron Alexis’ security clearance like this article from the New York Times. Yet there is very little talk about his transition from military to civilian life and how mental health and wellness are addressed in these circumstances. While there are multiple reports about violent and non-violent run-ins with authorities, there doesn’t seem to be any ties between those incidents and his treatment at the VA. These barriers between law enforcement and public health can be breached, but in this case they weren’t because it didn’t seem severe enough apparently.
On top of that, the press coverage is not yet talking about how Aaron may have been better served in his transition out of the military or in his health care. I don’t have the answer on how best to make changes in these systems that can support further cooperation or information sharing, but it is certainly a question that should be entertained. I was disappointed that the Public Health website for the VA has a section about violence prevention just one click from the landing page, but information for TBI and PTSD are several clicks away from the main page. If you could make any change to the VA website, what would it be?