Bipartisan bill passes for vets’ mental health

Sens. Jerry Moran of Kansas and Jon Tester of Montana introduced the legislation to curtail suicide Amon veterans by connecting them with mental health professionals.

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National News

October 20, 2020 - 10:00 AM

U.S. Sen. Jerry Moran celebrated signing into law a measure designed to expand mental health services to veterans. Moran and U.S. Jon Tester, a Montana Democrat, introduced the reform package in March 2019 and President Donald Trump signed it Saturday. Photo by Kansas Reflector

TOPEKA — The bipartisan duo of U.S. Sens. Jerry Moran of Kansas and Jon Tester of Montana celebrated signing of legislation they introduced to curtail suicide among veterans by more aggressively connecting them with mental health professionals.

Under the bill, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs must hire more mental health professionals, broaden access to telemedicine services, increase collaboration with community organizations to identify at-risk individuals and start a program to explore alternative treatment options, including animal or art therapy, outdoor sports and other activities. The bill was signed Saturday by President Donald Trump.

The legislation introduced by Tester and Moran in March 2019 was named in honor of U.S. Navy Commander John Scott Hannon, who retired to Montana to receive treatment. He died by suicide Feb. 25, 2018. An estimated 17 U.S. veterans die by suicide every day.

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