Obama Signs Executive Order To Boost Mental Health Services for Vets
On Friday, President Obama signed an executive order seeking to improve mental health care, treat substance use disorders and prevent suicides among military veterans, the New York Times' "Taking Note" reports (Downes, "Taking Note," New York Times, 8/31).
The order requires the Department of Veterans Affairs by the end of the year to:
- Hire an additional 800 counselors;
- Increase the capacity of its veteran crisis hotline by 50% to ensure that veterans in crisis gain professional help within 24 hours;
- Work with the Department of Defense on a national suicide prevention campaign;
- Conduct, along with DOD and HHS, research into the causes and treatments of traumatic brain injury and post-traumatic stress disorder (Herb, "DEFCON Hill," The Hill, 8/31); and
- Review existing mental health and substance use disorder treatment programs to determine the most effective programs and expand them.
Further, the order seeks to improve VA's partnerships with community-based organizations, in an effort to avoid veterans' apprehension about "getting lost" in the "VA bureaucracy," according to "Taking Note" ("Taking Note," New York Times, 8/31).
White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said funding for the order will draw from existing resources and not new appropriations (Gardner, Washington Post, 8/31).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.