February 06, 2018

Cortez Masto Calls for Details on President Trump’s Joint Action Plan to Address High Veteran Suicide Rates

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Catherine Cortez Masto (D-Nev.) joined in a letter led by Senator Jon Tester (D-MT) requesting further information on President Trump’s Executive Order Joint Action Plan aimed at expanding mental and behavioral health care resources for service members and newly discharged veterans during their period of transition out of the military. This Joint Action Plan is part of an effort to reduce the rate of veteran suicides, which are nearly 15% higher among newly discharged veterans. 

“It is imperative that the Joint Action Plan be implemented effectively and transparently. Confusion for at-risk veterans could be deadly, and the burden of added bureaucracy on mental health providers without an increase in resources for that staff could be detrimental to the quality of care all veterans receive,” the senators wrote. “We hope your Administration will ensure that all Federal organizations are united in breaking down any barriers inhibiting hiring providers. To develop a more robust plan we also urge you to determine whether the Departments have sufficient resources to carry out these actions.” 

The senators also offered a number of suggestions on how the Administration can best incorporate all agency resources into an effective plan. These suggestions include calls to involve the Department of Labor’s Veterans Employment and Training Service and the Department of Health and Human Services’ Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration in the creation of the plan, as well as requests to increase veterans’ access to educational and counseling resources. 

In addition to Senators Cortez Masto and Tester, the following senators signed onto the letter: U.S. Senators Patty Murray (D-WA), Maria Cantwell (D-WA), Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), Robert Menendez (D-NJ), Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Jeffrey A. Merkley (D-OR), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Christopher Murphy (D-CT), Gary Peters (D-MI), Cory A. Booker (D-NJ), Ron Wyden (D-OR), Bill Nelson (D-FL), and Tina Smith (D-MN).

The full text of the letter can be found HERE.