Tester Announces VA Grants for Montana Organizations Combatting Veteran Suicide

VA accepting applications for new program established under Chairman’s landmark Commander John Scott Hannon Veterans Mental Health Care Improvement Act

The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) is accepting applications for a new suicide prevention grant program created under U.S. Senator Jon Tester’s Commander John Scott Hannon Veterans Mental Health Care Improvement Act (Hannon Act)—landmark law he championed last Congress.

Named for a Montana veteran who lost his life to suicide, Tester championed the Hannon Act in his capacity as the top Democrat on the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee, to bolster VA’s mental health workforce and increase rural veterans’ access to care through alternative and local treatment options. Among its many provisions, the law established the Staff Sergeant Parker Gordon Fox Suicide Prevention Grant Program, a three-year community-based grant program to deliver financial assistance to organizations that provide or coordinate suicide prevention services for at-risk veterans and their families.

“We need all hands on deck when it comes to connecting those who’ve served with the mental health care they deserve to heal invisible wounds of war—especially in rural states like Montana,” said Chairman Tester. “This new grant program is one of the many resources under the Hannon Act that’ll keep veterans from falling through the cracks, and I encourage every interested organization to apply as soon as possible.”

VA is currently accepting applications for the Staff Sergeant Parker Gordon Fox Suicide Prevention Grant from eligible stakeholders until Friday, June 10, 2022. Interested candidates can learn more about the grant and apply HERE. As a senior member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, Tester secured $174 million in funding for the grant program, and organizations can apply for grants worth up to $750,000 which are renewable on an annual basis by application. VA may prioritize grant awards to organizations that focus on rural communities, tribal lands, or medically underserved areas.

Last month, Tester announced VA Montana was selected to serve as a pilot site for a new innovative mental health program established under the Hannon Act, to provide access to complementary and integrative health services, like equine therapy and agritherapy. As Chairman, he is also continuing to work to strengthen veterans’ mental health resources by spearheading bipartisan legislation such as the Revising and Expediting Actions for the Crisis Hotline (REACH) for Veterans Act and Post-9/11 Veterans’ Mental Health Care Improvement Act of 2021 to strengthen life-saving tools like the Veterans Crisis Line, expand care, and support mental health research at VA.