Skip to content
The National Council logo

Archive: Veterans and Military Families

Capitol Connector
Your source for the latest updates from Capitol Hill. We translate policy into practice so you can learn how policy trends will affect your work and how best to prepare.

Congressional Briefing Highlights Veterans’ Mental Health Programs

Shelley Starkey

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).

Read More |  View Comments

Share on LinkedIn

Webinar Series: Register for the 2017 Suicide Prevention Series

Michael Petruzzelli

Manager, Policy and Advocacy, National Council for Behavioral Health

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.

Read More |  View Comments

Share on LinkedIn

Congressional Briefing Showcases Unique Mental Health Treatments for Military Members

Shelley Starkey

Behavioral Health Policy and Practice Intern

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.

Read More |  View Comments

Share on LinkedIn

VA Publishes Nation’s Largest Report on Veteran Suicide

Michael Petruzzelli

Manager, Policy and Advocacy, National Council for Behavioral Health

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.

Read More |  View Comments

Share on LinkedIn

Senate Approves Bipartisan Criminal Justice, Mental Health Bill

Michael Petruzzelli

Manager, Policy and Advocacy, National Council for Behavioral Health

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.

Read More |  View Comments

Share on LinkedIn

Rep. Tim Murphy Introduces Veterans Mental Health Bill in the House

Michael Petruzzelli

Manager, Policy and Advocacy, National Council for Behavioral Health

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.

Read More |  View Comments

Share on LinkedIn

Veterans Mental Health Bill Introduced in the Senate

Michael Petruzzelli

Manager, Policy and Advocacy, National Council for Behavioral Health

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.

Read More |  View Comments

Share on LinkedIn

Bipartisan Group Introduces Veterans’ Treatment Courts Legislation in the House

Michael Petruzzelli

Manager, Policy and Advocacy, National Council for Behavioral Health

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.

Read More |  View Comments

Share on LinkedIn

Senate Passes Veterans Mental Health Bill, Heads Now to White House

Michael Petruzzelli

Manager, Policy and Advocacy, National Council for Behavioral Health

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.

Read More |  View Comments

Share on LinkedIn

House Passes Veterans’ Mental Health and Suicide Prevention Bill

Michael Petruzzelli

Manager, Policy and Advocacy, National Council for Behavioral Health

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.

Read More |  View Comments

Share on LinkedIn

Rep. Lynn Jenkins, University of Kansas Host Veterans Mental Health First Aid Training

Michael Petruzzelli

Manager, Policy and Advocacy, National Council for Behavioral Health

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.

Read More |  View Comments

Share on LinkedIn

Obama Announces Executive Actions to Improve Veterans’ Mental Health

Rebecca Farley

Director, Policy & Advocacy, National Council for Behavioral 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.

Read More |  View Comments

Share on LinkedIn

Congressional Negotiators Strike Deal on Veterans Health Bill

Rebecca Farley

Director, Policy & Advocacy, National Council for Behavioral Health

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.

Read More |  View Comments

Share on LinkedIn

Senate Bill Would Increase Veterans’ Access to Addiction and Mental Health Services

Jessica LoVerso

Policy Intern, National Council for Behavioral Health

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 […]

Read More |  View Comments

Share on LinkedIn

Senators Introduce Caring for America’s Heroes Act

Rebecca Farley

Director, Policy & Advocacy, National Council for Behavioral Health

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.

Read More |  View Comments

Share on LinkedIn

Several House Committee Members Introduce Broad Behavioral Health Bill

Rebecca Farley

Director, Policy & Advocacy, National Council for Behavioral Health

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).

Read More |  View Comments

Share on LinkedIn

Mental Health First Aid for Veterans Launches

Rebecca Farley

Director, Policy & Advocacy, National Council for Behavioral Health

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.

Read More |  View Comments

Share on LinkedIn

White House Hosts First-Ever Veterans and Military Family Mental Health Conference

Rebecca Farley

Director, Policy & Advocacy, National Council for Behavioral Health

On July 11, the White House hosted the first-ever Veterans and Military Family Mental Health Conference. The event brought together Administration leaders, Veteran Service Organizations, military service organizations, mental health professionals, and leaders from the Departments of Defense and Veteran Affairs to discuss issues related to expanding access to mental healthcare for veterans and military families.

Read More |  View Comments

Share on LinkedIn
©2018 National Council for Behavioral Health. All Rights Reserved.
.sprite.footer-ouw-logo { background-position: -850px -50px; width: 100px; height: 0px; display: none; } #subfooter-links { font-size: 12px; line-height: 18px; text-align: right; color: white; }