October 29, 2020

Veterans Mental Health Care Improvement Act Signed Into Law

On October 17, President Trump signed S.785, the Commander John Scott Hannon Veterans Mental Health Care Improvement Act of 2019 after it passed both chambers of Congress unanimously. The numbers for veterans and service members who die by suicide every day are staggering, and this bill has been a top priorities for the VA. The bill aims to improve the level of mental health care that VA provides to veterans, while giving financial support to groups outside VA as well. More specifically, the bill orders VA studies of complementary and alternative care such as yoga, meditation, animal therapy; assistance for service members transitioning into civilian life; and increased access to VA telehealth locations for veterans who live in rural areas. Many veterans’ advocates agree that the law comes at a critical time during the pandemic when the isolation and stress caused by the virus could increase suicide risk.