Gallagher Testifies Before Congress On Behalf of Veteran Suicide Victims
Washington, D.C. – Yesterday, Rep. Mike Gallagher testified before the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs as a witness to discuss his draft legislation to address the unmet suicide prevention needs of America’s military veterans. Every day, 20 veterans take their own lives, and on average, 14 of these 20 veterans did not receive care within the VA. Rep. Gallagher’s legislation aims to halt this epidemic by allowing eligible veterans in need of mental health services to access the care they need on a same day basis at a community or non-profit mental health facility, without a referral.
Below is an excerpt of the testimony Rep. Gallagher gave:
“By allowing eligible veterans to access same-day, evidence-based mental health care services at community and non-profit providers that are credentialed under the Choice program’s care delivery network, veterans in crisis will be able to get the help they need, when and where they need it.
The United States has now lost more veterans to suicide than the nation has lost in Iraq or Afghanistan, and we believe our nation has a continuing obligation to the men and women who have served it to help address their mental health needs.
Community-based and non-profit mental health care providers stand ready to help fill the gap in addressing the unmet need in veterans’ mental health care. This legislation gives Dr. Shulkin the ability to allow such providers to meet these urgent needs, in order to continue to address what the Secretary has described as his number one clinical priority.”
Rep. Gallagher is drafting the legislation with his colleague and fellow veteran, Rep. Seth Moulton (D-MA).