Thursday, February 12, 2015

President Obama Signs Key Veterans' Mental HealthLaw

President Barack Obama today signed into law the Clay Hunt Suicide Prevention for American Veterans (SAV) Act, intended to reduce suicide and improve access to mental health care for veterans. The bill had been passed unanimously by the House and Senate.

“Too many of our troops and veterans are still struggling; for many of them the war goes on,” said Obama. “We will not be satisfied until every man and woman in uniform gets the help they need to stay strong and healthy.”

Among other provisions, the legislation authorizes a loan repayment program to help recruit at least 10 psychiatrists each year for three years to fill vacant full-time positions. It also increases peer support and outreach for service members, extends eligibility for an additional year for mental health care services at the Veterans Health Administration, and requires evaluation of mental health care and suicide prevention practices.

APA strongly supported the legislation, noted CEO and Medical Director Saul Levin, M.D., M.P.A.

“APA is proud to have worked alongside veterans groups like the Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America to push for this new law,” said Levin, who attended the White House signing ceremony with APA president Paul Summergrad, M.D. “We are committed to providing our veterans with the quality mental health care they deserve, and the Clay Hunt SAV Act is an important step forward in improving their access to care.”

“Today is a more hopeful day for America’s veterans,” added Summergrad. “The brave men and women who served our country have sacrificed so much for us, and the Clay Hunt SAV Act is one way we can begin to repay them by improving much-needed access to mental health care and to reduce the tragedy of veteran suicides.”

For more in Psychiatric News about the Clay Hunt Suicide Prevention for American Veterans (SAV) Act, see: "Push for Suicide Prevention Law Hits Senate Roadblock."

(Image: White House)


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