The consistently high rate of suicide in the military has Republican U.S. Senator Joni Ernst on a mission to better address mental health care through the Department of Veteran’s Affairs. Ernst, Senator Chuck Grassley and Congressman Dave Loebsack have asked for an Inspector General’s investigation into the death last month of U.S. Marine Corps veteran Brandon Ketchum of Davenport. Ernst says Ketchum had reportedly been struggling with post-traumatic stress disorder, but was turned away when he asked to be admitted to a psychiatric ward.
"The investigation in itself is not as important as to what happens afterward and what strategy is applied in the future," says Ernst.
Ernst sponsored a Veterans forum today (Tuesday) in Cedar Falls. The 50 or so former military members who attended focused on frustrations with the top levels at the VA administration. Many also complained about their difficulty to access care at the regional center in Iowa City.