This is an archived article that was published on in 2015, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Over the course of our nation's history, millions of men and women have borne the scars of war after returning home from protecting our country. During the recent conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan, many soldiers have benefited from advances in medical science, allowing them to survive catastrophic injuries that may have been fatal just 20 years ago.

But for all of those advances in treating physical injuries, all of us should be mindful of the fact that many members of our Armed Forces also suffer invisible wounds of war that need specific and accessible treatment.

While it would seem that everyone in the federal government knows this is an issue requiring immediate attention, unfortunately the government seems to take a nonsensical approach in legislating the matter. For example, a few years ago the Department of Defense issued a rule that severely limited the number of Licensed Professional Counselors available to beneficiaries of TRICARE, the military's health insurance program. This meant that a member of the military, or a family member, faced added difficulty in seeking needed treatment for mental health issues, despite the willingness and capability of the counselors who would provide treatment.

Thankfully, Utah has congressmen like Rep. Rob Bishop who step up to the plate and offer common-sense solutions when they are needed.

Earlier this year, Bishop offered an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) that would repeal this earlier decision. His amendment would allow more Licensed Professional Counselors to practice independently under TRICARE. Essentially, this allows members of the military and their families to seek treatment from a qualified mental health provider with greater ease.

Congress passed the NDAA earlier this month and President Barack Obama is soon expected to sign it, which will make this bill the law of the land.

The work Congressman Bishop has done means that more service members and their families will gain access to the mental healthcare that they deserve. This should be recognized for its significance. It is often said that when a service member is deployed, their families are deployed too. Military spouses and children face a variety of obstacles during a deployment and when their Marine, Solider, Sailor or Airman comes home, the transition is not always easy. We should be doing all that we can to ensure that these families have all the support they need to live healthy and full lives. That is what this amendment would do.

As the nation's largest professional association representing Licensed Professional Counselors, we applaud Congressman Bishop's leadership on this issue and for having the courage to fight for this amendment. While we are an organization that is committed to promoting the counseling profession, we are also an organization that is equally committed to providing the delivery of mental healthcare to all Americans. And in this instance, Bishop has done both. He has made sure that our nation's military families are going to receive the benefits that they have all earned.

Art Terrazas is the Director of Government Affairs at the American Counseling Association.