Sullivan Applauds Order to Expand Mental Health Benefits and Care for Veterans

WASHINGTON, DC – U.S. Senator Dan Sullivan (R-AK), a member of both the Senate Armed Services and Veterans’ Affairs Committees, today released the following statement in response to President Trump’s Executive Order to expand mental healthcare for transitioning veterans.

“As an officer in the Marine Corps Reserve, I’ve personally witnessed the struggles – at times tragic – that some of our servicemen and women undergo as they search for care,” said Senator Sullivan. “It’s our obligation to pursue all of the causes and all of the factors that contribute to the scourge of veteran suicide, and bring it to an end. I am encouraged by President Trump’s announcement and decision to focus efforts on a particularly vulnerable group of servicemembers as they transition from military service to civilian life.”  

According to the Departments of Defense, Veterans Affairs and Homeland Security, the three departments will work together and develop a Joint Action Plan to ensure that the 60 percent of new veterans who currently do not qualify for enrollment in healthcare — primarily due to lack of verified service connection related to the medical issue at hand — will receive treatment and access to services for mental healthcare for one year following their separation from service. The Executive Order, titled “Supporting Our Veterans During Their Transition From Uniformed Service to Civilian Life,” will work to expand mental health programs and other resources to new veterans, including:

  • Expanding peer community outreach and group sessions in the VA Whole Health initiative from 18 Whole Health Flagship facilities to all facilities. Whole Health includes wellness and establishing individual health goals.
  • Extending the Department of Defense’s “Be There Peer Support Call and Outreach Center” services to provide peer support for veterans in the year following separation from the uniformed service.
  • Expanding the Department of Defense’s Military OneSource (MOS), which offers resources to active duty members, to include services to separating servicemembers to one year beyond service separation.