Military Times: Veterans suicide prevention plans take a big step forward, but still face tough political hurdles

“Senate lawmakers advanced a major veterans suicide prevention initiative on Wednesday, creating a potential legislative path for the action on the issue by the end of the year.”

“But the measure also could turn into yet another election-year partisan fight if party leaders can’t find quick compromises on lingering policy differences.”

“The bill, the Commander John Scott Hannon Veterans Mental Health Care Improvement Act, has been stalled in the chamber since last year but was approved without objection as lawmakers prepare for their upcoming August recess…”

“The measure — named for Hannon, a Navy Seal who died by suicide in early 2018 — has been highlighted for months by some veterans advocacy groups as a potential breakthrough measure efforts to curb veterans suicide…”

“The Hannon bill would broaden the Department of Veterans Affairs suicide prevention efforts through a series of investments in outreach programs and scholarships for mental health professionals.”

“VA officials would be granted direct hiring authority to more quickly fill staffing gaps in mental health services, and a new grant program would encourage collaboration with community organizations in providing quick aid to veterans in distress, especially in rural areas…” Read the full article here.

Source: Veterans suicide prevention plans take a big step forward, but still face tough political hurdles – By Leo Shane III, August 6, 2020. Military Times.

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