A survey by the Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of American (IAVA) found that two out of every five of their members know another veteran who committed suicide. On February 12, President Obama signed a federal bill to help veterans access quality mental health services, according to an article by Peter Baker in the New York Times.
The Clay Hunt Act, named for a Marine who committed suicide in 2011, was passed unanimously by both houses of Congress and provides the following:
- Outside evaluations of the Department of Veterans Affairs’ mental health and suicide prevention programs;
- Website with interactive features for locating resources;
- Incentives for mental health professionals to practice with the VA; and
- Extension of time limit for veterans to get health benefits from the VA without proving that disability is related to service.
Read the article here.
Read the IAVA survey results here.
Read the text of the Clay Hunt Suicide Prevention for American Veterans Act here.
With increasing awareness of the challenges of returning veterans, from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) to other mental illnesses, representatives of the Department of Defense (DoD) and Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) are promoting the Campaign to Change Direction, a program of the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). An article by the Military Health System Communications Office quotes Assistant Secretary of Defense for Health Affairs Dr. Jonathan Woodson, “We realize that we need to devote more resources moving forward with many veterans returning home to their families and communities.”
Read the article here.
This free, online, interactive course for health care professionals provides a conceptual framework for military culture and its impact on psychological health and treatment. It also covers the most common stressors in military culture and their impact on service members and Veterans. The course includes a self-assessment tool for military culture competence, and a checklist that incorporates the cultural vital signs introduced in the course. Participants receive a total of eight continuing education credits.
View the course HERE.
The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Office of Public Health has created an infograph to highlight the findings of a recent study of veterans.
Among deployed and non-deployed veterans who served during the Iraq or Afghanistan wars between 2001 and 2007, the rate of suicide was greatest the first three years after leaving service, according to the study. Compared to the U.S. population, both deployed and non-deployed veterans had a higher risk of suicide, but a lower risk of death from other causes combined. Deployed veterans also had a lower risk of suicide compared to non-deployed veterans.
View the infographic HERE