Kuster Discusses Efforts to Increase Mental Health Services for Veterans and Prevent Veteran Homelessness during Roundtable

Kuster recently helped pass into law a bill to improve mental health services for veterans

Concord, NH – April 9, 2015 – (RealEstateRama) — This morning, Congresswoman Annie Kuster (NH-02) hosted a roundtable discussion with local veterans as well as mental health and housing advocates. During the discussion, Kuster heard from event participants about ways that Congress can ensure Granite State veterans have access to the services and benefits they deserve, and she highlighted legislation she recently helped pass into law to expand mental health services at the VA.

“Mental health issues and homelessness are two of the most urgent problems facing our courageous veterans during the transition back to civilian life and in the years that follow,” said Congresswoman Annie Kuster. “During today’s roundtable, it was extremely helpful to hear from veterans and experts about how Congress can help solve these problems and ensure that veterans in New Hampshire receive the support and services they deserve. Thank you to all of today’s participants for offering your thoughts and ideas, and I look forward to sharing your concerns with my colleagues on the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee, so we can keep fighting for the men and women who wore the uniform of the United States.”

During the roundtable, local veterans and advocates shared their thoughts and concerns, and updated Kuster on efforts that are currently underway to meet the mental health and housing needs of the veterans’ community in New Hampshire. Kuster also provided updates on her most recent work on veterans’ issues in Washington, including information about the Clay Hunt SAV Act, a bill she recently helped pass into law to improve mental health services for veterans. Kuster also discussed a recent Veterans’ Affairs Committee hearing on veteran homelessness, where she pushed the VA and other organizations to increase their efforts to ensure our veterans have the support services they need.

The Clay Hunt Suicide Prevention for American Veterans Act is named after Clay Hunt, an Afghanistan and Iraq war veteran who faced barriers to receiving mental health care at the VA, and whose Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome tragically led to his suicide. In his honor, the Clay Hunt SAV Act will implement a comprehensive, community-based approach to suicide prevention among former service members, and will increase oversight at the VA. The bill will require a third party to annually evaluate both the Department of Defense and the VA mental health and suicide prevention programs, and it will require the VA to develop an interactive website for mental health services that is integrated with the National Guard Bureau. The bill also addresses the deficiency of mental health professionals at the VA by creating an education loan repayment pilot program to recruit new practitioners to the VA.

Congresswoman Kuster serves on the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee, and she helped lead the fight into the mismanagement scandals at VA centers in Phoenix and across the nation last year. She was recently selected by her colleagues to serve as Ranking Member of the Veterans’ Affairs Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigation, which will allow the Congresswoman to continue to provide increased oversight at the VA to ensure every veteran can easily access the care he or she needs. Since taking office, Kuster has held a series of roundtables throughout the state with veteran service organizations and local veterans to hear directly from them about how Congress can best serve their needs.

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