Policy Issues & Resources: Veterans Policy
In 2004, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) estimated that four of five returning troops are at risk for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) but are not referred for further mental health evaluation. In addition 31% of all army soldiers and other military personnel who have experienced heavy combat in Iraq and Afghanistan also experience at least one mental or psychosocial disorder. As over 2.9 million soldiers have been deployed to Iraq, Afghanistan, and surrounding countries in support of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan since 2001, there is increased need for culturally-competent mental health and addiction services for this population.
On October 16, 2008, President Bush signed S 2162, the Veterans Mental Health and Other Care Improvements Act of 2008, into law. S 2162 includes provisions from S 38, The Veterans’ Mental Health Outreach and Access Act, which required the Veterans Administration to partner with community behavioral health centers to supplement capacity.
The National Council will continue to strongly advocate for policies that improve veterans' access to community mental health and addiction services.
Recent News I Official Letters I Official Testimony I Fact Sheets I Additional Resources I
- Executive Order Directs VA to Expand Access to Behavioral Healthcare, Partner with Community Providers
- VA Rule Affirms Role of Community Providers in Treating Veterans with Substance Use Disorders
- National Council issues a new brief "Providing Mental Health and Addiction Services to Active-Duty Soldiers and Veterans"
- Thank You Letter to Senator Smith for Introducing the Travel Assistance for Family Members of Our Troops Act
- Letter Expressing Support for the Healing Our Nation's Heroes Act
- Letter from Disabled American Veterans
- Letter from Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America
- Letter from Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States
- Letter from Vietnam Veterans of America
- Letter from the Wounded Warrior Project
- Testimony by Chuck Ingoglia, National Council's Vice President, Public Policy, before the Senate Veterans' Affairs Committee
- Testimony by Linda Rosenberg, National Council's President & CEO, before the House Committee on Veterans' Affairs
- Meeting the Mental Health Needs of Rural Veterans
- S. 38 Fact Sheet for Hill Day 2008
- Frequently Asked Questions About S. 38
- Meeting the Behavioral Health Needs of Veterans
- "Suicide Studies Examine Treatment Adherence, Women Vets' Risk" Available to Mental Health Weekly subscribers
- National Council brief "Providing Mental Health and Addiction Services to Active-Duty Soldiers and Veterans," outlines the need for services and the basics of working with the VA and Tricare
- National Council LIVE webinar on "Contracting with the VA for Veterans’ Mental Health Services" recording and presentation.
- Veterans on the Road Home, a new book from the National Council with detailed case studies of treatment organizations and associations with special expertise in and commitment to serving veterans and their families
- National Council Magazine special issue on Veterans
- Building Bridges to Support Military and Veteran Families: Healthcare Providers Resource Guide by the Defense Centers of Excellence for Psychological Health and Traumatic Brain Injury is designed to assist medical and mental health providers with their work in helping service members, veterans, and their families maintain health and positive family functioning.
- Veterans Health Council resources on providing culturally-competent services to veterans
- VA Guidance on Uniform Mental Health Services in VA Medical Centers and Clinics
- Article in Modern Healthcare, February 18, 2008
- Special Report: Modern Healthcare Interviews Chuck Ingoglia, National Council's Vice President, Public Policy
- Text of S 2162
- Text of S. 38
- An Achievable Vision: Report of the Department of Defense Task Force on Mental Health, June 2007
- GAO Congressional testimony on VA Healthcare: Preliminary Information on Resources Allocated for Mental Health Strategic Plan Initiatives, October 2006
- Vital Mission: Ending Homelessness Among Veterans, a research report from the Homelessness Research Institute and the National Alliance to End Homelessness, November 2007