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Shinseki: Veterans' Mental Health a Priority

Eric Shinseki, the retired four-star general who currently heads the Department of Veterans Affairs, said his agency is "working diligently" to better aid veterans suffering from post traumatic stress disorder and other mental health issues.

Shinseki appeared on CBS' "The Early Show" Wednesday, a day after attending a memorial for the 13 victims of the Fort Hood shooting rampage. As a former Army chief of staff, Shinseki described the attack as a "heart wrenching, terrible tragedy - unexplainable."

He also said President Barack Obama's speech during the ceremony was important to "bring the community together and begin the healing."

Special Section: Tragedy at Fort Hood
Fort Hood Memorial

Shinseki said one of the focuses during his first nine months at the helm of Veterans Affairs has been on the increasing diagnoses of PTSD, traumatic brain injuries and other mental health issues – a problem "Early Show" co-anchor Harry Smith noted was exacerbated by multiple tours of duty in combat zones in Iraq and Afghanistan.

"Well, we are working diligently to increasing our capabilities here," Shinseki said, adding that Veterans Affairs employs 19,000 mental health professionals to address the problems.

Shinseki also said the department is busy implementing a new post-9/11 G.I. bill.

"We have a large backlog of claims that has been there for years. And that's the next priority. And we've begun taking that down, as well."