The bipartisan duo of U.S. Senators Jerry Moran of Kansas and Jon Tester of Montana celebrated signing of legislation they introduced to curtail suicide among veterans by more aggressively connecting them with mental health professionals.
The Reflector reports that under the bill, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs must hire more mental health professionals, broaden access to telemedicine services, increase collaboration with community organizations to identify at-risk individuals, and start a program to explore alternative treatment options.
Moran, the Kansas Republican and chairman of the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee, said U.S. veterans suffered daunting mental health challenges exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Tester, who serves as ranking Democrat of the VA committee, said the law would deliver access to lifesaving health care.
Under the law, the VA will begin offering scholarships to mental health professionals to work at vet centers and to place at least one suicide prevention coordinator at every VA hospital.
The VA is to improve telehealth services, especially in rural areas, for veterans in need of mental health care.