New Bill Aims to Decrease Veteran Suicides
The number of suicides committed by American veterans has increased in recent years to a staggering 22 veterans each day. But it’s a statistic President Obama aims to decrease with the new Clay Hunt Suicide Prevention Act for American Veterans, named in honor of a veteran who took his own life in 2011.
This bill proposes:
- An annual mental healthcare evaluation by a third party not affiliated with the VA in addition to suicide prevention programs for veterans and soldiers returning from war.
- That the group report annually to the Senate and the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs.
- The creation of an online resource that gathers all of the mental healthcare resources and information available through the VA. The website would also be specifically designed to help veterans experiencing suicidal thoughts, with required updates every 90 days.
- A new program with debt forgiveness for psychiatrists during their employment with the VA, including up to $30,000 in student loans written off per year of employment. These psychiatrists (either in the midst of their residency programs or already licensed) will be good candidates for the program if they intend to establish a career with the VA for a significant period of time.
- The creation of a community-oriented, peer support program called the Veterans Integrated Service Network, specifically designed for veterans who are returning from active duty and having to re-adjust to civilian life. Proponents believe it’s important to give veterans another option to turn to, especially another veteran who has experience dealing with similar circumstances.
- An Integrated Service Network mental health summit held annually to evaluate the state of mental healthcare and determine how veterans can be helped better.
- To strengthen the collaboration between the government and nonprofit groups that help veterans through training sessions and the appointment of a Director of Suicide Prevention Coordination by the VA Secretary.
- The implementation of an additional healthcare eligibility period for veterans who have been involved in combat during certain wars – groups that have historically exhibited a higher risk of PTSD.
If you’re a veteran suffering from service-connected PTSD or another mental condition and believe you may be eligible for VA benefits, the Charlotte Veterans Benefits Lawyers of Jan Dils, Attorneys at Law, can help. Call 877-526-3455 or click here to schedule your free initial consultation today.