Sending Office: Honorable Tim Ryan
We are finishing May’s
Mental Health Awareness Month, however the pressing needs of ours Veterans continue to
need your help. More than 16% of Veterans have been diagnosed with a depressive disorder. Up to 43% struggle with symptoms of mental health issues, such as drinking excessively, smoking, and/or sleeplessness.
These struggles have resulted in an unacceptably high rate of Veterans suicide. Everyday 20 Veterans take their lives according to 2014 VA data– 150% the rate of non-Veterans.
Despite the VA’s strides in caring for the mental health concerns of our Veterans, they need help. Of the 20 average suicides daily by Veterans – 14 were not using VA services.
A recent study identified several barriers to comprehensive care, including a lack of childcare services. Put simply, we need to take the fight against mental illness to our Veterans’ backyards.
That is why we are introducing the Veteran Wellness Act, which brings mental healthcare to our Veterans by establishing a two year grant program to provide integrative wellness
programs at Veterans Service Organizations (VSOs). This simple solution helps in many ways. First, exercise,
yoga, and meditation
are proven successful treatments for major depression,
anxiety, and easing
with a community and inclusiveness are key protective factors against suicide. Encouraging our Veterans to join supportive organizations such as the American Legion, VFW and AMVETS will make them feel more included.
VSOs are located in every state, territory, and region in our country. Many VSOs offer skilled assistance with VA enrollment and claims which may help our Veterans connect with care through the VA that they desperately need.
We cannot wait any longer. In Post-911 Veterans, up to 22% have depressive disorders. The age-adjusted rate of suicide by Veterans has increased by more than 30% and among
female Veterans it has increased 85.2%. These Veterans need care now and we must provide it to them. The Veteran Wellness Act of 2017 provides care, community support, and resources to assist Veterans in enrolling in care as needed.
To become a cosponsor of HR 2506, the Veteran Wellness Act of 2017, please contact Valerie Broznak in Congressman Ryan’s office at
email@example.com (x55261) or Scott Nulty in Congressman Thompson’s office at
Tim Ryan Glenn ‘GT’ Thompson
Member of Congress Member of Congress
e-Dear Colleague version 2.0