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VA Plan Would Provide Every Service Member with Mental Health Benefits

by Countable | Updated on 3.9.18

What’s the story?

  • Secretary of Veterans Affairs David Shulkin said he will send President Donald Trump a proposal that would provide every service member with mental health benefits when they leave the military.

  • "Suicide prevention is the top clinical priority," said Shulkin. “We’ve expanded our veterans crisis line, we are expanding the number of mental health professionals.”

What does it matter?

  • The plan comes in response to President Trump’s executive order, signed in January, which instructed the Depts. of Defense, Veterans Affairs, and Homeland Security to collaborate to improve mental healthcare and access to suicide prevention services for veterans.

What else is the VA doing for those struggling with mental health issues?

  • The VA has announced a partnership with the nonprofit AMVETS to create a mental health initiative called HEAL: health care, evaluation, advocacy, and legislation.

  • Stars and Stripes explained: "A six-person team of licensed registered nurses, called the HEAL team, will travel across the country to try to intervene with veterans who haven’t sought treatment through the Department of Veterans Affairs but need it." The HEAL team will also “take calls and emails from veterans facing barriers to VA mental health care.”

  • Carolyn Clancy, the executive in charge of the VA health care system, told the military news source:

"I can’t overemphasize how important it is to have this kind of assistance on the frontlines connecting veterans to our services. Having another veteran from another organization you can trust saying, ‘It’s OK, this is actually a good thing to go do,’ means far, far more than what anyone from the VA could necessarily share. It’s a different source of credibility."

  • Veterans and their family members can begin using the HEAL program on March 19th by calling: 1-833-VET-HEAL

What do you think?

Should Trump sign the VA proposal? Are we doing enough for our veterans? Hit Take Action and tell your reps, then share your thoughts below.

—Josh Herman

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(Photo Credit: KatarzynaBialasiewicz / iStock)

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(212)
  • Art
    03/10/2018
    ···

    Can you just PLEASE pay the doctors that see us. Some doctors have 6 YEAR OLD INVOICES! They are refusing to see us because the government does NOT PAY THEM!!!

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  • Senic
    03/10/2018
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    I support this bill wholeheartedly, you should too! Veterans serve with honor and their needs should be met.

    Like (73)
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  • Mark
    03/09/2018
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    The US government should bend over backwards to help those who have served, or are serving. Why must, those who need attention, jump through so many hoops. Certainly, there’s pork that can be eliminated, in order to fund this. C’mon

    Like (58)
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  • Matt
    03/09/2018
    ···

    As a veteran who has benefited from VA mental health services and third-party mental health counseling, I urge a ”yes” vote on this initiative.

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  • operaman
    03/10/2018
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    Sounds like ”about time.” Vetran mental health care has been a problem for 50 plus years. We have tried to lead the VA towards the mental health option, but the mules refused to budget this necessary form of healthcare. Combat has a way of affecting normal brain function.

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  • Heath
    03/10/2018
    ···

    Right now they’ll provide you with mental health, but it’s at their facility which is two hours away for me. Want to see me three days a week, Monday-Friday. When or how do they expect you to keep a job? 4 hours road time with a one hour visit, you do the math, fired. I just want to be able to see a doctor in my community. I’ve used veteran’s choice and then I get a bill in the mail. Fight with VA, for three years, on one particular bill in order to get it paid. So, if I get a common cold and need a quick shot, I spend 3 hours on the road to see a VA doctor. Because they’ll pay the $100 in mileage versus the $100 doctor visit at my local doctors office.

    Like (39)
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  • James
    03/10/2018
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    To whomever it may concern, this is a serious issue for me. Combat situations can cause a number of psychological issues to service men and women. Proper mental heath care and counseling are essential to the transition back to civilian life. I urge you to work with the President and his advisors to make sure our troops are taken care of.

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  • James
    03/10/2018
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    I’m in the VA healthcare system and they provide this however there are a lot of vets that live in parts of the country where even a VA clinic might be hours away!. If local hospitals and doctors were allowed to treat vets and get paid by the Fed Government that would be great! Go Vets!!!

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  • Jim2423
    03/09/2018
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    Really glad to see this become a reality. Sure could have used it back in the 70’s.

    Like (20)
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  • Donna
    03/10/2018
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    I can't freaking believe these veterans are not ALREADY provided access to mental health assistance. These people fought for our freedoms and should be given any and all help necessary to keep them alive after they have served. I find it absolutely disgraceful they come home safely from wars they did not start only to be killed by the lack of respect and care they deserve when they return.

    Like (17)
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  • I.Got.an.Idea...
    03/11/2018
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    If you are not willing to provide Americans with the opportunity to have healthcare, at the very least, you could provide Veterans with the same healthcare coverage that all of Congress receives. also, due to the sacrifice that the Veterans families have also made, you can cover the Veteran’s entire immediate family.

    Like (16)
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  • SneakyPete
    03/09/2018
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    Mental Health Care for Veterans. Should Trump sign the VA proposal? Yes... Secretary of Veterans Affairs David Shulkin said he will send President Donald Trump a proposal in response to President Trump’s executive order, signed in January, which instructed the Depts. of Defense, Veterans Affairs, and Homeland Security to collaborate to improve mental healthcare and access to suicide prevention services for veterans. I readily support President Trump signing the proposal Secretary of Veterans Affairs David Shulkin forwarded to President Trump Which would provide at a minimum: * proposal that would provide every service member with mental health benefits when they leave the military. * "Suicide prevention is the top clinical priority," said Shulkin. “We’ve expanded our veterans crisis line, we are expanding the number of mental health professionals. Are we doing enough for our veterans? NO the proposed benefits are a greatly needed benefits for all our veterans, as proposed by Secretary of Veterans Affairs David Shulkin, and should be acted upon quickly. 3*9*18.

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  • TracyEckels
    03/10/2018
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    I think that its ridiculous that our people in uniform aren’t being provided with mental health care in the first place. I served in the USAF for only 4 years and I never saw any kind of combat situations. However there are those who have seen combat and I think that its a no-brainer that they should have been provided mental health care unquestionably.

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  • Diane711
    03/10/2018
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    Health care, whether mental or physical, is a right, not a privilege, especially for our service members who walk the walk when it comes to defending our country.

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  • AnonymousPatron
    03/09/2018
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    Is this really a question at this point in our existence?! Every service person should be provided Mental Health services (no charge) from specialists in PTSS and trauma. My brother in law received great support as a Vietnam Vet and mentored young vets before his untimely death. He believed in this. It is extremely important for our Vets and their families.

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  • Wallace
    03/10/2018
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    Yes, we should make all efforts to take care of our vets!

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  • John
    03/09/2018
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    Provide whatever assistance vets need; medical, psychological, educational. Whatever they need. And tax the wealthy and big business to pay for it.

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  • Jonathan
    03/10/2018
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    As a veteran and social worker, this is much needed! There is already many barriers to seeking mental healthcare — stigma, lack of education on when it’s indicated, and certainly funding — not being eligible when people realize they have a need is heartbreaking to see and sit with as a social worker at the VA and as a fellow veteran. Our elected officials say they stand with Veterans, let’s say it with our actions and policy.

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  • Rebecca
    03/10/2018
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    Please support mental health support for all military members returning from combat! Also, please support massage for soldiers as part of the HEAL teams.

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  • Timnyc
    03/09/2018
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    As a 911 first responder and life long law enforcement officer I believe that these services are a vital source for our military personnel. We need to support this important issue.

    Like (11)
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