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Friday, August 31, 2012 - 23:54
EL PASO — President Obama signed an executive order giving veterans and active duty military easier access to mental health care and highlighted the significance of those services during a speech at Fort Bliss Friday.
During his speech, Obama stressed the importance of providing these services to those who sacrificed their lives for their country.
"The one thing that I will insist upon for however long I remain president of the United States, is that we serve you and your families as well as you served us," Obama said.
For El Paso resident and Iraqi war veteran Victor Medina, the message hit home.
He and his wife have been advocates of traumatic brain injuries after Medina suffered an injury in Iraq when an explosive hit a vehicle he was in.
He spent two and a half years in rehab and said the signing of the order meant his work is having an impact.
"Now soldiers with head injuries and PTSD have a voice and that voice is being heard by many people that can make a change," Medina said.
The order will provide better research for diagnosis and treatment of traumatic brain injuries and post traumatic stress disorder.
Medina said the increased awareness will help lower suicide rates.
"It should never be an option to commit suicide," Medina said. "Getting the right help can be a turning point for them."
The order will provide access to support for veterans via phone, text, or online and also start a year long national suicide prevention campaign at the beginning of September.
"Seeing change happen, I think this is the beginning of many good things coming," Medina said.