Washington Post Live Event Highlights Veterans’ Mental Health
Senators Jerry Moran (R-KS) and Jon Tester (D-MT) spoke at a Washington Post Live event this week about veterans’ mental health and their new bill, the Commander John Scott Hannon Veterans Mental Health Care Improvement Act (S. 785). On average, 20 veterans die by suicide every day, with only 6 of those having received treatment […]
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VA Launches Veterans Community Care Program
The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) this week announced improvements to the way the agency collaborates with non-VA, community health providers by ending the Veterans Choice Program and establishing a new Veterans Community Care Program. The new changes aim to provide better access to high-quality health care for the 9 million veterans served by the VA by expanding eligibility for community care, providing a new urgent care benefit, and modernizing and streamlining certain processes.
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House Bill Aims to Address Veteran Suicides at VA Facilities
This month, three veterans completed suicide at Veterans Affairs (VA) facilities over the course of five days, bringing an alarming trend into the national consciousness. The rising rate of suicides and suicide attempts at VA facilities has prompted new legislation to be introduced in Congress. H.R. 2340, proposed by Army combat veteran Representative Max Rose (D-NY), would require the VA to track deaths and suicide attempts on VA property and provide that information to Congress, along with medical, financial and housing information for any individuals who die by suicide at the VA.
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Congressional Briefing Highlights Veterans’ Mental Health Programs
Last week, the American Psychological Association (APA) and the RAND Corporation hosted a Congressional briefing to discuss the complex behavioral health needs of American veterans and their families. The expert panel included researchers, veterans, and clinicians who highlighted nongovernmental programs that are working in the space. Much of the day’s discussion centered on how to better engage the 40 percent of veterans that need care, but are not connected to the Veterans Health Administration (VHA).
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Webinar Series: Register for the 2017 Suicide Prevention Series
An average of 20 veterans die by suicide every day. Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the United States, and veterans account for 18 percent of these tragic deaths. This September, in observance of Suicide Prevention Month, experts on the most up-to-date veterans’ suicide data, suicide risk assessment, and prevention tools available will present their findings to clinicians who serve our nation’s veterans.
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Congressional Briefing Showcases Unique Mental Health Treatments for Military Members
The Congressional Mental Health Caucus collaborated with the Military Mental Health Caucus last Wednesday to host a briefing showcasing specialized treatment options for active military members and veterans. The panelists included providers from the National Intrepid Center of Excellence (NICoE) at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, dog trainers from the Warrior Canine Connection, and a bipartisan group of Congressional Representatives.
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VA Publishes Nation’s Largest Report on Veteran Suicide
After examining more than 55 million records covering 35 years of data, the Department of Veterans Affairs this week released its findings on Veteran suicide rates in the United States. The study is the nation’s largest comprehensive analysis of Veterans suicide to date. Among its many findings, this report estimates that 20 Veterans a day die by suicide. This is compared to a 2012 study which estimated the rate was higher, 22 Veterans per day.
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Senate Approves Bipartisan Criminal Justice, Mental Health Bill
On Friday, the Senate quietly approved bipartisan criminal justice and mental health related legislation. The Comprehensive Justice and Mental Health Act (S. 993/H.R.1854) – introduced by Senator Al Franken (D-MN) and Representative Doug Collins (R-GA) – primarily reauthorizes and improves the Mentally Ill Offender Treatment and Crime Reduction Act (MIOTCRA) of 2004. The bill aims to make communities safer across the country by improving access to mental health services for people in the criminal justice system who need treatment.
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Rep. Tim Murphy Introduces Veterans Mental Health Bill in the House
Last week, Representative Tim Murphy (R-PA) introduced legislation that protects veterans currently in mental health treatment from having their recovery interrupted while transitioning from one government health plan to another. The Enhancing Veterans Access to Treatment (EVAT) Act (H.R. 2123) mandates that the Department of Veterans Affairs and the Department of Defense have matching mental health drug plans for veterans to protect veterans from being removed from successful treatment.
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Veterans Mental Health Bill Introduced in the Senate
New veterans mental health legislation would expand access for veterans to receive mental health services. The bill – The Prioritizing Veterans Access to Mental Health Care Act of 2015 – would amend a veterans health law passed in August and remove barriers imposed by the law to care for veterans in need of mental health services.
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Bipartisan Group Introduces Veterans’ Treatment Courts Legislation in the House
Bipartisan legislation introduced in the House would authorize veterans’ treatment courts, helping veterans living with addiction and other mental health conditions receive specialized care when accused of certain non-violent crimes.
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Senate Passes Veterans Mental Health Bill, Heads Now to White House
This week, the Senate passed legislation aimed at preventing veterans’ suicide. The legislation allows the Veterans’ Administration to team with nonprofits focused on promoting mental health to carry out its suicide prevention programs. Additionally, the legislation establishes a three-year pilot program to pay for psychiatrists’ education if they work at the VA for at least two years.
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House Passes Veterans’ Mental Health and Suicide Prevention Bill
On Monday, the House passed legislation aimed at preventing veterans’ suicide. The legislation allows the Veterans’ Administration to team with nonprofits focused on promoting mental health to carry out its suicide prevention programs. Additionally, the legislation establishes a three-year pilot program to pay for psychiatrists’ education if they work at the VA for at least two years.
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Rep. Lynn Jenkins, University of Kansas Host Veterans Mental Health First Aid Training
On November 22, a group of students, veterans, and other interested community leaders participated in a free Mental Health First Aid for Veterans (MHFA) training. The training was hosted by Congresswoman Lynn Jenkins (R-KS), the KU Collegiate Veterans Associations, KU Counseling and Psychological Services and KU Graduate Military Programs.
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Obama Announces Executive Actions to Improve Veterans’ Mental Health
Tuesday, President Obama announced 19 new executive actions that the Departments of Veterans Affairs and Defense will take to improve the mental health of service members, veterans and their families. Speaking to a convention of the American Legion, Obama said these new actions will help improve service members’ transition from military to civilian healthcare providers, improve access to and quality of mental healthcare at VA and DoD facilities, improve treatments for mental health conditions such as PTSD, and encourage individuals to seek help by raising awareness about mental health.
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Congressional Negotiators Strike Deal on Veterans Health Bill
Tuesday, committee leaders in the House and Senate announced they had struck a compromise on the Veterans Affairs (VA) healthcare bill, allowing the stalled bill to resume moving toward passage. The approximately $17 billion agreement addresses VA physician and medical staff hiring; provides for physical infrastructure improvements; expands upon the VA’s ability to contract with external providers for services; and addresses recent scandals related to long waiting lists and botched care at VA facilities.
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Senate Bill Would Increase Veterans’ Access to Addiction and Mental Health Services
Earlier this month, Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) introduced the Restoring Veterans’ Trust Act of 2014 (S. 2413) in the Senate. This bill includes a new project, the Community Mental Health Partnership Pilot Program, which would connect medical centers of the Department of Veterans Affairs with surrounding community mental health and substance use treatment providers to […]
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Senators Introduce Caring for America’s Heroes Act
Marking the start of National Mental Health Awareness Month, Senators Roy Blunt (R-MO), Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), and Jerry Moran (R-KS) introduced legislation last week to improve behavioral healthcare for veterans and members of the military. The Caring for America’s Heroes Act (S. 2276) eliminates the cap on days of inpatient psychiatric treatment for military service members’ families and removes some preauthorization requirements.
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Several House Committee Members Introduce Broad Behavioral Health Bill
Earlier this week, members of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce – which oversees many policies related to mental health and substance use – introduced legislation to improve the U.S. behavioral healthcare system.
The Strengthening Mental Health in Our Communities Act (H.R. 4574) was introduced by Ron Barber (D-AZ), Diana DeGette (D-CO), Doris Matsui (D-CA), Grace Napolitano (D-CA), and Paul Tonko (D-NY).
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Mental Health First Aid for Veterans Launches
The National Council, along with leaders from veterans service organizations and fellow mental health advocates, today launched a new training program – Mental Health First Aid for Veterans – that offers participants a simple, proven combination of information and techniques to recognize and respond to the warning signs of mental illness and addiction.
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