Tester Requests More Information on Executive Order to Expand Veterans Mental Health Care

Senator: We Need a Detailed Plan

(U.S. Senate) – Ranking Member of the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee Jon Tester issued the following statement following a White House Executive Order to expand mental health care to transitioning service members:

“I will support any and all efforts to ensure more veterans receive mental health care when they need it most. However, I remain concerned about sufficient resources and staff needed to successfully execute this initiative. When it comes to serving our nation’s veterans, particularly those most at risk for mental illness, there is no room for error. It is essential that the VA provides a detailed plan for this initiative.”

President Trump today announced the VA, the Department of Homeland Security, and Defense Department would within 60 days establish a new mental health care plan for veterans leaving the military, but he did not provide any details of that plan or how it would address chronic vacancies of mental health personnel that has proven to be one of the biggest barriers to mental health care.

Veterans who are transitioning or recently transitioned out of the military are at a higher risk of suicide than other veterans, and they face additional barriers to mental health care while they move from active duty to veteran status.

Tester’s bipartisan Caring for Our Veterans Act breaks down barriers for veterans to access mental telehealth care across state lines. Many Montana veterans rely on mental telehealth care from VA specialists in Salt Lake City.