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Arlington, VA – Today, the U.S. House of Representatives unanimously passed a landmark bipartisan bill, S. 785, The Commander John Scott Hannon Veterans Mental Health Care Improvement Act, which previously passed the Senate. It will now go to President Trump for his signature.
This bill is especially significant for NAMI, not only for what it does for veterans’ mental health care, but because it does so in honor of NAMI Montana member and retired Navy SEAL Commander John Scott Hannon, who served for 23 years and fought a courageous battle with post-traumatic stress, traumatic brain injury and bipolar disorder.
“We must do better for those who served our country,” said Daniel H. Gillison, Jr., NAMI CEO. “Too many veterans who transition out of service carry invisible wounds and, tragically, often lose their lives to suicide. We are thankful that, during Suicide Prevention Awareness Month, Congress passed a bill that reflects Commander Hannon’s tireless passion for improving veterans’ mental health care.”
The bill will provide wraparound suicide prevention services, increase accountability for mental health and suicide prevention programs at the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), expand VA telehealth to help rural veterans, support alternative therapies and spur needed research—the Precision Medicine for Veterans Initiative—to improve how mental health conditions are diagnosed and treated.
"Commander Hannon was a dear friend and ally in the fight to heal the hidden wounds of war,” said Matt Kuntz, Executive Director of NAMI Montana, who was integral to the advocacy of this bill and testified in front of the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee earlier this month. “We are very grateful for the essential efforts laid out in this legislation and for the man it honors."
NAMI deeply appreciates the dedication and leadership of S. 785’s co-sponsors, Senators Jerry Moran (R-KS) and Jon Tester (D-MT) and is appreciative of Representatives Mark Takano (D-CA-41) and Dr. Phil Roe (R-TN-1) for making the House’s passing of this bill possible.
NAMI, the National Alliance on Mental Illness, is the nation's largest grassroots mental health organization dedicated to building better lives for the millions of Americans affected by mental illness.
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