Tuesday, October 04, 2016


I have a real problem with the mental health clinic at the James H. Quillen VAMC at Mountain Home (Johnson City, TN).

  1. When I read a progress note written by the mental health professional I had just seen at the clinic and it said, “ Mr. Cooper did raise his voice a few times during the time spent but was redirect easily” I knew the note had at least one big lie in it.  I have not been successfully redirected since I was a toddler.  Ask anyone who has known me over the years.
  2. Additionally, why is it that a person gets in more trouble if they show any emotion at all when they are in the mental health clinic than any other clinic at  James H. Quillen VAMC?  Why did I need to be redirected in the first place?  Can I not show any emotion in the mental health clinic?
  3. Then when I saw this line in my VA notes from that visit I am glad I was not at the MHC.  It reads, “Recommend removing all firearms from the home.”  She had said she wasn’t asking me about firearms in my home and I had said that that was a good thing because it was not her business, but now here was this line in my permanent record.  They trained me to sleep with my rifle and treat it better than my wife and now they put that in my chart and wonder why I do not trust them.  (I may not be the only veteran that has a problem with the mental health policy on guns.  It may keep lots of us from trusting them or getting help.)

The real problem here is not that Ed has been offended or that his chart (permanent record) is wrong and misleading.  The real problem is that the VA has so many policies within its mental health care system that drive us away rather than reach out to us.  Then they wonder why we do not come to them when we hurt or before we kill ourselves.

© Ed Cooper, 10/4/2016, Stoney Creek, TN, Appalachia
All rights reserved

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