A Navy SEAL veteran who came out as transgender 10 years ago but became a man again warned veterans this week that they should take charge of their own health care decisions within the Department of Veterans Affairs.
Chris Beck made waves when he announced his retirement and warned of the dangers the trans movement poses to people, especially children. His Twitter bio now states, “I’m NOT #trans (healed from mental trauma).”
In an interview with Fox News Digital on Monday, Beck discussed how quickly the VA system put him on the path to becoming a trans woman, and how that system could be improved so other veterans aren’t rushed into making a similar decision. .
Until the VA system is improved, Beck said veterans should advocate for themselves when using VA.
“For any veteran coming into the VA system, it’s a giant machine, the biggest machine you’ll ever go into,” Beck said. “Every VA is different, and every VA doctor is different. If you don’t like where you’re going, then ask questions.”
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“If you’re not complaining, you’re leaving the problem for the next veteran,” he added. Beck also stressed that the VA needs to understand that veterans have a real interest in making sure the system is fixed.
“We complain because we want you to be better,” she said when asked about VA.
Beck said the VA mental health care system would be much more helpful to veterans if it relied less on people in white coats who weren’t in the military and more on those who served their nation in uniform who can serve longer. effectively as mentors and coaches. to veterans in need.
“The problem with the VA is that they were talked into using CACREP,” Beck said, referring to the Association for Accreditation Council for Counseling and Related Educational Programs. Beck said the VA requires all psychologists to be CACREP accredited, which makes them expensive and therefore much harder to see within the VA system.
Beck said he believes that standard is why he was only seen for about an hour at the VA before it was decided that he should receive hormones in preparation for a transition.
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“I went into a psychologist’s office, [and] in one day I have a letter in my hand that says I’m transgender,” Beck told Starbuck. “I was cleared for hormones. They authorized me all these other things.”
“It’s pretty strict and ridiculous,” Beck told Fox News Digital of the VA standard. “Not everyone needs a doctoral adviser.”
Beck said the credentialing requirement makes these counselors very expensive, and because they can get more money, the VA doesn’t have access to as many as it needs to treat veterans. That creates a shortage which means veterans only have so much time.
“They want to shorten it,” Beck said. “They don’t have time. If they can get me in and out in an hour, that’s what they want to do.”
The VA did not respond to a request for comment on Beck’s evaluation of mental health care at the agency.
Beck said a better alternative would be to leave space below CACREP-certified staff for other counselors, including people in the military who saw some of the same things veteran patients saw. Beck said it can be difficult for veterans to follow clinical advice from younger psychologists who have never seen action and who don’t realize that many of their patients are highly-skilled service members who led troops in the field. Beck said many VA staff members simply don’t know how to react to the way older veterans process their grief.
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Beck acknowledged that he was frustrated with an encounter with a qualified psychologist who could not understand Beck’s situation because he had not lived through it.
“He started talking to me about PTSD and I was like, ‘Dude, I’m not going to talk to you anymore, you’re giving me more PTSD,'” Beck said. He banged on the table in frustration, prompting the counselor to sound an alarm and escort Beck out of the room.
“They’re so young, so naive, so inexperienced that they freak out because when we start talking about combat, we get intense,” Beck said. He said many get the wrong understanding of veterans through popular culture.
“They see these movies and they think they know us,” Beck said. “They can’t handle us. What we need are our mentors and coaches.”
“All the decision makers are listening to Ph.Ds and GOFOs [general officers and flag officers] when should they be listening to senior petty officers [noncommissioned officers]Beck said. “The PhDs and GOFO never did the job. Senior NCOs did the job every day of our lives.”
Beck said the value of talking about issues with other veterans can be seen in a nonprofit he started, Mindful Valor, which allows veterans to work together and commiserate over food and fellowship. He said the VA needs to push for ways that allow veterans to connect with each other in that way.
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“We can talk about things with each other,” he said. “Stories bring out emotions, and emotions bring out solutions.”
He said he isn’t looking to mess with the VA, an agency that has been criticized for years for failing to quickly address the needs of veterans, and simply wants to make sure it gets better.
“I complain because I really want it to get better.”