Suozzi Introduces Legislation Providing Free Mental Health Counseling for All Veterans
May 25, 2017
“Mental Health Services for All Veterans Act” Aims to Reduce Suicide Rate
Today, Congressman Tom Suozzi introduced the Mental Health Services for All Veterans Act, which would provide free mental health services to all members of the Armed Services, regardless of their discharge status. The bill will also provide mental health services to members of the reserves, including the Army National Guard and Air National Guard. These critical services would be made available through VA medical facilities and through Veterans Health Centers.
Suozzi introduced the bill on the floor of the House of Representatives. His remarks can be viewed here.
“It’s obvious when someone loses a limb or is injured tragically in war to identify that their injury is service-related. But for veterans who go home at night and are alone by themselves – dealing with a mental illness – too many are suffering alone, and it’s not easy to identify these problems as being service-related. We need to change this.
“This is a very real and serious epidemic we’re facing in our nation. We have an obligation to say ‘thank you’ to our veterans by making sure they get the help they need, not just talking about it. As Memorial Day approaches, let’s remember that parades, waving American flags and saluting our troops are all essential, but we also need to serve our living veterans when they are truly at their lowest moment,” said Congressman Suozzi.
This legislation comes on the heels of a U.S. Navy veteran who crashed his car into a crowd of pedestrians in Times Square on May 18th, killing a young woman and injuring 22 others.
According to a July 2016 report by the Department of Veterans Affairs, in 2014 an average 20 veterans committed suicide each day. Of those 20, only 6 were users of VA services.
A Government Accountability Office (GAO) study published last week showed that 60 percent of troops that have been discharged for misconduct in recent years suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder or some other type of brain injury.