Is congress about to give hurting veterans the help they deserve?

Last week, the blog focused on how the system has failed our children when it comes to mental health care.

This week, let’s look at the other side of the age spectrum.

Tuesday, we honored our veterans who gave so much to out nation. The question should really be; are we giving enough back to our veterans when it comes to mental health services, getting them off the streets and healthy both physically and emotionally ?

The answer is 17.

That number is how many veterans commit suicide every single day.

The other answer is 6,139

That number is the total number of veterans who committed suicide in 2017. This is the most recent data available.The total number of suicides among veterans has increased four of the last five years on record. From 2007 to 2017, the rate of suicide among veterans jumped almost 50 percent. Veterans are 1.5 times more likely to die by suicide than Americans who never served in the military. For female veterans, the risk factor is 2.2 times more that answer enough for you?

However, help may be on the way. In congress, there is a strong bipartisan effort to pass the Improve Well-Being for Veterans Act. This plan makes may actually make sense by getting the massive federal government out of the way. It calls on the government to work with veterans service organizations, caregivers and nonprofits at the state and local level who know these veterans and know their stories. This could reach 60% of veterans that are in danger of suicide and get them real help.

Where have ideas like this been? Cooperation and finding partners who can more quickly identify the risk factors that put veterans at risk, such as addiction, homelessness or mental health. The Improve Well-Being for Veterans Act would let the VA to support each of these current and potential partners in states and cities and get veterans the help they need more quickly than ever before.

Also, many veterans live too far away from our brick-and-mortar health care facilities to get effective help and will require help locally. Others may be struggling with the stigma of a condition that puts them at risk, and will be reluctant to seek help at the VA. Some may even have a distrust of government that keeps them away from the VA. They need people on the ground they can trust and care to get them back on their feet. This might be just what is necessary to solve so much of the problem.

If this law works as well as hoped, why not similar laws with helping the homeless, children’s mental health and a lot of other problems? Get the people in the community involved who are most affected involved and work with local and state organization to find solutions instead of big government which we know takes forever.

There have been so many military conflicts in my life. From Vietnam to Desert Storm, 9/11 to Afghanistan and Iraq. So many have come home with scars that are not visible but cause more pain than most Americans can imagine.

Last Tuesday, there were a bunch of offers for free meals, deals at department stores and more for Veterans Day. Our veterans need and deserve so much more.

Maybe out government is finally going to give the welcome home and help they should get for their service to our nation

Read about the Improve Well-Being for Veterans Act by clicking here.

What is your opinion of the proposed law? Will it make a big difference in veteran’s mental issues and reduce suicides? Please leave your comments below and follow the blog for updates.

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