(July 5, 2017) Starting today, veterans with less-than-honorable discharges can receive mental-health care at Department of Veterans Affairs emergency facilities. The VA’s new rules come as evidence grows that some veterans suffering from undiagnosed post-traumatic stress disorder or traumatic-brain injury may have been improperly separated.
The new rules allow those with other-than-honorable paperwork to receive care for “a mental health emergency” for up to 90 says, according to a report by Military Times. The care could include inpatient services, residential care or outpatient options.
VA Secretary David Shulkin said in a statement, “Suicide prevention is my top clinical priority. We want these former service members to know there is someplace they can turn if they are facing a mental health emergency, whether it means urgent care at a VA emergency department, a Vet Center or through the Veterans Crisis Line.”
Advocates for veterans have pushed for mental-health care for the estimated 300,000 veterans who have been separated from the military with “bad paper” discharges. Many of them, the advocacy groups argue, are suffering from undiagnosed problems.
VA studies estimate 20 veterans commit suicide each day. Most of them are not receiving services from the agency