As the old saying goes, it’s okay to not be okay. This is a truth that I had to come to terms with several years ago in my own life. It is also a truth that has impacted many of my brother and sister Veterans. Because of the ongoing mental health problems among Veterans, last month, the Senate passed legislation in the Commander John Scott Hannon Veterans Mental Health Care Improvement Act of 2019. In order to address Veteran’s mental health care, the Veterans Administration will take a multi-pronged approach.
Included in the Act is the provisions to:
- Enhance the VA’s mental health workforce
- Increase access to mental health services, especially in rural areas
- Research innovative brain and mental health diagnostics (animal therapy, outdoor therapy, yoga, mediation, etc)
- Improve quality of treatment for people with serious mental illness
- Improve suicide prevention and increase oversight of VA programs
Veterans need to know that help is always available. Through the Veteran Crisis Line at 1-800-273-8255 , Veterans can speak to a caring professional listener at any time. In Northwest Arkansas, the VA Mental Health department has an excellent staff, and the Vet Center is available to help Veterans and families. Remember that you do not have to do this alone. The military works best because of teamwork, and that teamwork doesn’t end when you leave service for civilian life.