SVAC Chairwoman: VA Losing Mental Health Battle
This week the Senate
Veterans Affairs Committee met to discuss legislation pertaining to
veteran healthcare provided by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA).
Committee Chairwoman Sen. Patty Murray (Wash.) discussed
the “Mental Health Access Act” (S. 3340), a measure she
introduced that proposes sweeping changes to the VA and Department of
Defense (DoD) mental health program.
“We are losing more service members to suicide than
we are to combat. Every 80 minutes a veteran takes his own
said during the hearing. “On average this year, we
have lost a service member to suicide once every
The legislation would require
DoD to create a comprehensive, standardized suicide prevention program;
expand eligibility for VA mental health services to family members;
strengthen oversight of DoD mental health care and the Integrated
Disability Evaluation System (IDES); and require VA to establish
accurate and reliable measures for mental health services.
addresses the concerns of shipmates about the long waits for mental
health counseling on Capitol Hill, including testimony before the House
and Senate Veterans Affairs Committee. The Association also supports
improved and more aggressive oversight of IDES.
are urged to use the FRA Action Center to contact their senators and ask
them to support this important legislation.