Last Friday, 18 October, the country lost a strong champion of Service members, Veterans and their families when Congressman Charles William “Bill” Young (R, FL) passed away at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, MD. Through nearly 21 terms as a Representative of the people of Florida, C.W. “Bill” Young was a passionate advocate of the needs and welfare of Service members and Veterans. He sponsored legislation such as the Injured Soldiers Hospital Bill, the Military Spouses Employment Act and the Retired Pay Restoration Act and ensured the best pay and services for military members every year through the Defense Appropriations Bills. Having served in the Army National Guard himself from 1948 to 1957 as a non-commissioned officer (NCO), he appeared to sincerely care about the well-being of not only the military, but all of its people. He and his wife reportedly visited Military members in the hospital at Walter Reed on a regular basis and, in fact, his efforts in 2008 established the name of the medical facilities at Bethesda as the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center.
In the summer of 2005, the American Psychological Association approached Congressman Young to discuss a widening gap in the training of military mental health providers. It was recognized that behavioral health providers working with Service members and their families around deployment-related psychological health issues were not prepared by their training in dealing with some of the unique problems related to deployment. As Chair of the House Defense Appropriations Subcommittee, Representative Young inserted a mark in the FY2006 Appropriations Bill that was accepted by Congress and established the Center for Deployment Psychology, which has since gone on to train over 20,000 behavioral health providers to care for Service members, Veterans and their families.
A look at the statements released by people who knew and worked with Congressman Young clearly indicate that his life’s work was supporting the U.S. military, its members, veterans and families. The Faculty and Staff at the Center for Deployment Psychology join many others in sending our condolences to the Young family and our heartfelt appreciation for their many years of service.
Dr. Bill Brim is the Deputy Director of the Center for Deployment Psychology. The focus of Dr. Brim’s clinical work, supervision and training is on deployment- and redeployment-related mental health issues, specifically, assessment and treatment of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and insomnia.