Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Act Now to Improve Psychiatric Care for Veterans!

Veterans returning from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have an enormous need for mental health care, particularly for treatment of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), substance use disorders, and suicidal thoughts and behaviors. The Veterans Health Administration (VHA) has struggled, however, with mixed degrees of success, to address the needs of the veterans. But legislation before both the Senate and House of Representatives to ameliorate a shortage of VHA psychiatrists could result in significant strides toward helping the agency deliver quality mental health care to veterans.

APA is strongly urging psychiatrists to contact their senators and representatives to register their support for passage of the bill, which is known as the Clay Hunt Suicide Prevention for American Veterans (SAV) Act. The SAV Act (S. 2930/H.R. 5059) would, among other provisions, establish a medical school loan repayment program for psychiatrists in the VHA, which the law's supporters hope will be an effective tool to recruit more psychiatrists to the agency. With Congress considering comprehensive reform to the VHA, there is momentum for improving mental health care, but members of Congress need to hear from their constituents. Click here to contact your representatives urging them to support the Clay Hunt SAV Act.

(image: Orhan Cam/Shutterstock)


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