chevron-down Created with Sketch Beta.
September 23, 2021

New Legislation to Expand Mental Health Care for Rural Veterans

In June, President Biden signed the Sgt. Ketchum Rural Veterans Mental Health Act of 2021 into public law 117-21. The act arose from a bipartisan bill that unanimously passed in the Senate. During FY 2022, this act will require the VA to establish and maintain three new centers of the Rural Access Network for Growth Enhancement (RANGE) Program' to provide more mental health care for rural veterans. In addition, it requires a study by the GAO to determine whether the VA has adequate resources to serve rural veterans who need intensive mental health care. This legislation arose because 85% of rural residents live in a Mental Health Care Professional Shortage Area, and at least one in five veterans have at least one serious mental health condition after returning from combat. This act was named in memory of veteran Sergeant Brandon Ketchum, who died by suicide after being denied access to mental health services for his PTSD.