Senate passes bipartisan veterans' health and suicide prevention legislation

Senate passes bipartisan veterans' health and suicide prevention legislation

In another remarkable bipartisan win this summer, the Senate passed landmark veterans' health and suicide prevention legislation.

The Commander John Scott Hannon Veterans Mental Health Care Improvement Act, or S.785, was one of the first bills unanimously passed out of the Committee on Veterans' Affairs in January following the appointment of Sen. Jerry Moran, R-Kan., as committee chairman.

Hannon was a leader of SEAL Team Two, a member of SEAL Team Six and a Special Operations and policy staff officer at U.S. Special Operations Command.

The legislation named in Hannon's honor is aimed at improving mental health care provided by the Department of Veterans Affairs through pathways such as transition assistance, expanding care to former service members with other-than-honorable discharges, extending grant money to local groups working to help veterans and hiring more suicide prevention coordinators for each VA care facility.

The 2019 National Veteran Suicide Prevention Annual Report found that the number of veteran suicides exceeded 6,000 every year from 2008 through 2017 and noted that a 2014 report found an average of 20 suicides per day when combining a count of veterans, current service members and former National Guard or Reserve members who were never federally activated.

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