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VA expands mental health care for discharged veterans

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VA expands mental health care for discharged veterans.

WASHINGTON -- The Department of Veterans Affairs will offer urgent mental health care beginning this summer to thousands of former service members with less-than-honorable discharges, part of its expanded initiative to stem stubbornly high rates of suicide.

VA Secretary David Shulkin said Wednesday the additional coverage was needed to help former service members who are more likely to have mental health distress.

Shulkin, who has called suicide prevention a top priority, said the VA also would begin to see the former service members right away at VA emergency departments if they urgently need it.

Shulkin pointed to legislation introduced by Rep. Mike Coffman, R-Colo., that would expand coverage for veterans with less than honorable discharges as an impetus for VA’s action.

On Wednesday, Coffman said he welcomed the news and would continue to move forward on the bill with Rep. Derek Kilmer, D-Wash., to make the VA coverage broader and more permanent.

“This is fantastic news and a major win,” said Paul Rieckhoff, founder and CEO of Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America.

“This policy change will forever alter the future for thousands of veteans and their families.

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Author: @DailyCupofYoga

Source: cbsnews.com