Glasgow Courier: Veterans Mental Health Act of 2021 Unveiled

WASHINGTON D.C. – Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee Chairman Jon Tester (D-Mont.) and Ranking Member Jerry Moran (R-Kan.) have unveiled legislation to expand access to mental health care for rural veterans.

The Senators’ Sgt. Ketchum Rural Veterans’ Mental Health Act of 2021 would establish three new Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Rural Access Network for Growth Enhancement (RANGE) program centers to provide community-based care and services for rural veterans diagnosed with serious mental health issues, and support additional research on rural veterans’ mental health care needs and treatment options.

“Veterans living in rural states like Montana face many barriers to mental health care that often come at too high a cost,” said Chairman Tester. “Our bipartisan bill will increase access to life-saving care with additional resources proven to meet the unique needs of rural veterans. And, it’ll help treat invisible wounds of war to prevent at-risk veterans from falling through the cracks.”

In 2016, Sgt. Brandon Ketchum of Davenport died by suicide after he was denied access to mental health services related to his battle with post-traumatic stress disorder at a VA facility in Iowa.