Major Legislations Directed at Addressing Veteran Suicide

An estimated 17 veterans die by suicide each day, down from 20 in previous years. Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), depression, hopelessness, trauma, and access to weapons are some of the reasons why veterans take their own lives.

The suicide rate is a problematic issue that not only affects veterans, but also their families and friends. Although the government is paying more attention to this problem by passing laws that tackle mental healthcare and well-being of veterans, and prevent death by suicide, progress has been slow. 

Legislation S.785  

Regardless of age, military personnel face difficulties when leaving the service and entering civilian life. They may have extensive physical injuries or mental health problems that are wrongly diagnosed, affecting daily functioning and reintegration into society.

As such, veterans and their families can file a military medical malpractice lawsuit to recover substantial damages and compensation, which can help defray medical costs, therapies, and potential income loss and lack of earning capacity.

In addition, Congress has now approved S.785, a law that expands the mental health care of veterans, paying particular attention to rural vets. Under the provisions of the law, many of which will take effect in 2021, grant money is increased for community organizations that are assisting veterans.

The Department of Veteran Affairs (VA) is required to submit a healthcare plan to any vet during the one-year period after discharge from active military service.

Regarding suicide prevention, the VA must also give grants to eligible bodies that will provide suicide prevention services to vets and their families. According to Kansas Republican Senator, Jerry Moran, the bill is a nod to veterans, service members and their families to let them know that they are never alone.

Veterans Compact Act

Passed in December 2020, the Veterans Compact Act aims to improve the mental health and well-being of veterans and stop death by suicide. Under its nine provisions, free care will be provided to vets who are going through mental health crises. Moreover, programs are envisioned to better understand women vets and their mental health needs, as well as assist their families.

Says Democrat Congressman Mark Takano of California, the Act is an opportunity to serve those who have served the American people. It will assist in closing the gaps between prevention and care for those who are at high risk for suicide.

The Bill ensures that no veteran should worry about cost when going through a mental health crisis. It also builds on the Commander John Scott Hannon Veterans Mental Health Care Improvement Act, assuring vets and their families the care, services and support that they need to live full and healthy lives.  

Death by suicide among vets is a pervasive and real problem. Thankfully, Congress has taken steps to address the issue by passing important laws that will provide mental healthcare services to the brave men and women who have served America.

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