In recent years, advocates and federal officials throughout the country have been devoting increased attention and resources to helping vets with mental health issues. Despite these efforts, many believe that there is still a significant amount of work to be done in providing accessible and effective mental health services to veterans. A newly nominated physician executive is also looking to make mental health a leading priority for the VA.
Dr. David J. Shulkin – who has been recently nominated to become the VA’s top doctor – voiced his opinion about the need to focus resources on assisting veterans with mental health conditions and needs. He cited the following points as key reasons for why mental health needs to be a top concern and what he believes should be done:
- Statistics on suicide rates among U.S. veterans are alarming – an average suicide rate of 22 veterans per day.
- Issues including lengthy VA wait times place veterans at risk of not receiving the mental health care they need in a timely fashion. Vets coping with mental health issues need immediate and open access to services.
- Monitoring of mental health concerns, identification of risk factors, and multiple interventions are key areas that can help improve mental health treatment among veterans. These areas should be fully developed in order to provide comprehensive mental health care.
While officials and advocates look to improve veterans’ access to much needed mental health services, veterans who struggle with these issues today do have options for pursuing the compensation and benefits they need. For instance, veterans with qualifying mental health conditions are eligible to receive disability compensation benefits from the VA.
At Shook & Stone, our legal team is dedicated to helping veterans navigate the veterans disability process in order to ensure they have access to compensation and helpful resources. If you have questions about VA benefits for mental health conditions, our attorneys are available to discuss your case during a free consultation.