In remarks to Veterans attending the 96th annual American Legion National Convention today, the president announced executive actions that will allow the Department of Veterans Affairs and the Department of Defense to improve the mental health services they provide to Veterans, Servicemembers and their families.
President Obama addresses the American Legion’s 96th National Convention. (Photo by Reynaldo Leal, VA)
The 19 actions build upon the president’s 2012 executive order , which afforded VA the ability to hire 1,600 mental health professionals, expand the capacity of the Veterans Crisis Line and enhance its partnerships with community mental health providers.
Three of the new actions will improve the continuity of care for Servicemembers transitioning from Tri-Care to VA care by:
- automatically enrolling service members in the inTransition program;
- allowing VA to continue to use medication prescribed by DoD mental health providers;
- ensuring DoD and VA will work together to develop a single joint, comprehensive plan for service members transitioning from DoD to VA with multiple, complex, severe conditions such as traumatic brain injury, psychological trauma, or other cognitive, psychological or emotional disorders.
Read more about these actions via the White House website.
In his remarks, the president also announced that the administration is continuing to make significant progress toward reducing the number of veterans who suffer from homelessness. Data collected during the annual point-in-time count conducted in January 2014 shows there were 49,933 homeless veterans in America, a decline of 33 percent (or 24,837 people) since 2010. This includes a nearly 40 percent drop in the number of veterans sleeping on the street.
Watch some of the highlights from the 2014 American Legion national convention.