Advocates for mental health care for incarcerated veterans draw attention downtown

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By Amanda Dolasinski

The mother of incarcerated Army veteran Joshua Eisenhauer quietly held a sign in his support, waving at cars that honked as they passed.

“We’re here today mostly for the mental issues – there’s a lot of work to do,” Eisenhauer’s mother, Dawn Erickson, said. “Josh is just one face of this.”

She and about two dozen people gathered in front of the Airborne & Special Operations Museum on Monday to draw attention to the need of access to specialized mental health care for incarcerated soldiers and veterans. The vigil was led by the Fayetteville Quaker House, which has been circulating a petition pushing state leaders to provide better care for incarcerated service members like Eisenhauer, a former Fort Bragg staff sergeant who was sentenced to between 10 and 18 years in prison last year for charges related to a 2012 shooting at his apartment. He contends that he had a flashback to his days of Army combat duty in Afghanistan and didn’t understand what he was doing. No onehire vets other than Eisenhauer was seriously injured.

“I’m glad that this situation for Josh and other veterans is becoming more visible,” Erickson said. “We need more awareness. There are lots of veterans that need mental health care. We don’t think the prison is set up to handle specialized health care.”

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