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Senator Blunt, mental health advocates and local veterans weigh - KOAM TV 7

Senator Blunt, mental health advocates and local veterans weigh in on mental health issues

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Ted Donaldson served in the US Air Force for more than 30 years.

To see someone who is injured in such a way you can't even imagine how they're still alive. After that mission, I just felt like a depression just kind of set over me," he said.

Ted's wife Amy also served in the Air Force. She served for 10 years.

"Sometimes we would carry a cargo hold of human remains out of the zones," said Amy. 

Ted and Amy suffer from the mental health disorder PTSD, post traumatic stress disorder.

This, along with all other mental health issues, is a concern for senator Roy Blunt.

"Whether that is in the normal population, the military, the veterans population, we should be treating all those mental health challenges," said Blunt (R-Mo.).

The senator met with mental health advocates in Joplin to discuss the need for more access to quality mental health care, for all u-s veterans and citizens. 

"What we want to see is a system that works the best for veterans, said Blunt.  "And I think at the end of the day that very well may be combination of access to more facilities that aren't veterans facilities but continue to have access to veterans facilities as well."

Ted and Amy say their experience with access to mental health at the VA has been positive. But Ted says, it is sometimes still not enough.

"As well intentioned as all the mental health professionals are out there including the veterans administration, and I believe that they are very well intentioned in the VA, sometimes that damage runs deep," he said.

In seeking an additional means of therapy, the couple formed Compass Quest, a veterans ministry that seeks to help veterans dealing with mental issues through art.

"It gave me a big sense of relief to help me get a big demon out of me that I had been really haunting me for about 10 years," said Ted Donaldson.

The couple says it's a small step in helping to heal a big problem.

More information on mental health facilities in Missouri can be found here
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