Military Veterans Can Now Receive Free Emergency Mental Health Care
February 24, 2023
Under a new policy from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), military veterans experiencing a suicidal crisis can now receive free treatment at any VA or non-VA health facility. Veterans do not have to be enrolled in the VA system to receive this benefit, which includes free emergency suicide care, transportation, and follow-up care for up to 30 days of inpatient and 90 days of outpatient care. The policy also permits VA to provide “appropriate referrals” for veterans after emergency suicide care and determine their eligibility for other VA programs and services. According to a VA report, suicide was the second leading cause of death among veterans under age 45 and the 13th leading cause of death among veterans of all ages in 2020. In 2021, the White House released a military and veteran suicide prevention strategy that prioritized expanding care for veterans at high risk of suicide. “Individuals at imminent or high risk of suicide should be guaranteed equitable access to high quality crisis care and follow-on support,” said the strategy document.
Spark Extra! Check out the Veterans Crisis Line’s new 988 number.