Improving the mental health needs of Servicemembers, Veterans and their families

In remarks to Veterans attending the 96th annual American Legion National Convention today, the president announced executive actions that will allow the Department of Veterans Affairs and the Department of Defense to improve the mental health services they provide to Veterans, Servicemembers and their families.

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President Obama addresses the American Legion’s 96th National Convention. (Photo by Reynaldo Leal, VA)

The 19 actions build upon the president’s 2012 executive order , which afforded VA the ability to hire 1,600 mental health professionals, expand the capacity of the Veterans Crisis Line and enhance its partnerships with community mental health providers.

Three of the new actions will improve the continuity of care for Servicemembers transitioning from Tri-Care to VA care by:

  • automatically enrolling service members in the inTransition program;
  • allowing VA to continue to use medication prescribed by DoD mental health providers;
  • ensuring DoD and VA will work together to develop a single joint, comprehensive plan for service members transitioning from DoD to VA with multiple, complex, severe conditions such as traumatic brain injury, psychological trauma, or other cognitive, psychological or emotional disorders.

Read more about these actions via the White House website.

In his remarks, the president also announced that the administration is continuing to make significant progress toward reducing the number of veterans who suffer from homelessness. Data collected during the annual point-in-time count conducted in January 2014 shows there were 49,933 homeless veterans in America, a decline of 33 percent (or 24,837 people) since 2010. This includes a nearly 40 percent drop in the number of veterans sleeping on the street.

Watch some of the highlights from the 2014 American Legion national convention.

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4 Comments to “Improving the mental health needs of Servicemembers, Veterans and their families”

  1. Don Matthews 9218 says:

    The veterans mental health id NOT being adress at the Monroe, La. clinic. To say it is a ‘LIE FROM THE PITS OF HELL’!!! They are shorthanded and Shreveport, La. VAMC will NOT help in hiring for them as is their job! They run their own show, FUCK the Secretary!!! As I have been saying to you guys for YEARS, and being ignored, when you start executing Department Heads things will change drastically. And the veterans feedback that you are ignoring, will improve. What will happen when the veterans, you ignore, go to the media and tell them that EVERyTHING you are telling them is a lie and not happening?

    • Paul Tenenbaum says:

      There is a marked improvement from when I first applied in 1984 for C&P, but there are certain areas that havn’t changed. Doctors fail to include in their reports what they explained to the veteran and that has long term consequences. Years are wasted for the final outcome. Yes, Department Heads have responsibilities which must be carried out. they have job descriptions or should have, their bosses in turn is to make sure that these employees are at their desk working on behalf of Veterans. Ladies and gentlemen, just read the letters you receive, and you’ll get the feeling that important matters are overlooked or the people involved have not got all the facts. we start all over. I have waited 30 years +. Injuries not understood in 1952 and only came to light in 2003 will not be accepted because they happened in Korea and the info was served on a silver platter. There is the problem.
      And not with Secretary/General Shinseki. Whoever screamed for head should have their heads examined. The General understood the Vetgerans and acted on their behalf. It is the middle line of employees upon whom he relied that are wrong.

  2. Jalica says:

    Mr. President, tell Congress to get off their chairs, get down in the streets and listen to the people…When rulers become submerged in their own think tanks, they forget what it is like for the average “JOE and JANE” this subverts the real meaning of American patronage to a country that beckons with power and greed. So let’s make the changes that prove worth of redemption that we are no longer just a people but a worthy advocate of service to all people across this board of colonial fallouts from the old west! Better stated, we have risen to become more ethically exposed to interpret truth from fiction!

  3. Mr. President, tell Congress to get off their chairs, get down in the streets and listen to the people