WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Maggie Hassan (D-NH) and a bipartisan group of 31 other senators urging the Department of Veterans’ Affairs (VA) to swiftly develop and conduct outreach to veterans of the Global War on Terrorism – especially those who served in Afghanistan – to provide them with mental health resources.
Their call for action comes as reports find calls to veterans’ suicide hotlines have increased since the fall of Kabul earlier this month.
In their letter, the Senators note that veterans between the ages of 18 to 34 have the highest suicide rate among former service members and that many veterans do not use the Veterans Health Administration services which provides many mental health resources geared at preventing suicide among service members.
“This has been an incredibly challenging time for the veteran community and VA must ensure that there is a sustained, comprehensive plan to reach veterans and connect them with potentially life-saving resources both within the VA and through VSOs, such as Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America’s (IAVA) Quick Reaction Force (QRF),” said Jeremy Butler, IAVA (Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America) CEO. “We thank Senators Maggie Hassan, Joni Ernst, Bill Cassidy, and Raphael Warnock and all of the Senators that signed onto this important letter to ensure that the VA is doing everything that they can to help our veterans during this difficult time.”
The full text of the letter can be seen here