A new policy that allows veterans to access free suicide prevention care at any VA or non-VA health care facility is likely saving lives.
The Department of Veterans Affairs revealed on Wednesday that 49,714 former service members accessed care in the first twelve months since the policy was in place.
The policy covers emergency room care, crisis residential care for up to 30 days and outpatient care for up to 90 days. Transportation costs are also covered.
“We want all Veterans to know they can get the care they need, when they need it, no matter where they are," said VA Secretary Denis McDonough.
This new policy extends to any veteran, even if they are not enrolled in the VA.
"Additionally, this benefit covers certain individuals who do not meet the requirements to be considered a Veteran, including those who were released from active duty under conditions other than dishonorable," the VA said in a statement.
According to the most recent information from the VA, 6,392 veterans died by suicide in 2021. That was 114 more suicides than those that occurred in 2020.
If you need to talk to someone, call the Suicide and Crisis Lifeline by dialing 988 or text "HOME" to the Crisis Text Line at 741741.
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