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New Trump Executive Order Takes Aim At America's Veteran Suicide Crisis
President Donald Trump is expected to sign an executive order this afternoon that will expand mental health coverage options for transitioning veterans, Veteran Affairs officials confirmed to Task & Purpose this morning.
The order, “Supporting Our Veterans During Their Transition from Uniformed Service to Civilian Life,” is specifically geared toward combating veteran suicide, Military Times’ Leo Shane first reported. An estimated 20 U.S. veterans die by suicide each day, and President Trump last year tasked incoming VA Secretary David Shulkin with getting that number to zero.
"That is just an unacceptable number and we are focused on doing everything we can to try to prevent these veteran suicides," Shulkin said during a phone conference with reporters Jan. 9.
The new executive order would focus on veterans who are at the highest suicide risk: those who recently separated from the service. The order gives the Departments of Veterans Affairs, Defense, and Homeland Security 60 days to create a “Joint Action Plan” for “seamless mental health care” to service members exiting the military, according to Military Times.
“Transition from the military to the civilian workforce is a challenge for any veteran,” Lou Celli, the American Legion’s national director of veterans affairs and rehabilitation, told Task & Purpose via email. “Some veterans have more difficulty with this than others, and we see this expansion of mental health care and suicide prevention programs to be part of an important safety net.”
Just half of transitioning service members who need mental health treatment seek it — and only half who seek help actually receive adequate care, according to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. The numbers for veterans in their first year out of uniform are stark, compared with their active duty peers: Recent vets are nearly three times more likely to commit suicide than those still in uniform, according to a study from the Naval Postgraduate School. And close to one-fifth of veterans returning from in Iraq and Afghanistan suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder or depression, according to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.
Veterans who leave the service with “bad paper” discharges — disciplinary separations that can bar recipients from collecting VA education, disability, and medical benefits — wouldn’t qualify for new benefits under the executive order. However, they do have access to emergency care mental health services through the VA, under a program Shulkin launched last year.
When the executive order’s proposed safeguards kick in, service members will have the ability to opt out, according to senior administration officials. Veterans enrolled in the 12-month program will have access to mental health care through the Veterans Health Administration, as well as private providers through the VA’s CHOICE program.
The plan is expected to cost “a couple hundred million dollars a year,” paid with existing funds from the VA and Defense Department’s budgets, the Washington Post reports.
The Department of Homeland security’s involvement serves to ensure transitioning members of the Coast Guard have access to the program, Military Times reports.
If you’re thinking about suicide, are worried about a friend or loved one, or would like emotional support, the Lifeline network is available 24/7 across the United States. Call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-TALK (800-273-8255) to reach a trained counselor. Use that same number and press “1” to reach the Veterans Crisis Line.
A first look at the 'CoD Modern Warfare' reboot shows juggernaut and ghillie suits return to multiplayer
Late last month Activision's Infinity Ward dropped a teaser trailer for Call of Duty: Modern Warfare — a soft-reboot of one of it's most beloved games — and just two weeks after the May 30 reveal, the game developer unveiled some new details on what's in store for the first-person shooter's multiplayer: Juggernaut and ghillie suits!
Editor's Note: This article originally appeared on Business Insider.
Iran says it will exceed limits on its enriched uranium stockpiles agreed in its 2015 nuclear deal, the latest escalation in tensions after the US accused Iran of sabotaging oil tankers last week.
Under the 2015 deal — formally known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) — Iran agreed with the Obama administration and several European states to limit uranium production.
MAIDUGURI, Nigeria (Reuters) - At least 30 people have been killed in a triple suicide attack in northeast Nigerian state of Borno, state emergency officials said on Monday, in the biggest mass killing this year by suicide bombers.
No group has yet claimed responsibility for the attack.
Your humble Pentagon correspondent has never been one of the "cool kids" in the world of Washington media, and never has that been more evident than in my failed attempts to interview Navy veteran Pete Buttigieg, mayor of South Bend, Indiana, and one of the roughly 50,000 Democrats running for president.
To the media, Buttigieg is so hot right now that he could melt the stealth coating off an F-35 – which is actually not as hard as it sounds. He is fluent in more forms of communication than C-3PO – in April, he offered his condolences to the French people for the Notre Dame fire in perfect French. He's had no problem getting media coverage from all sorts of media outlets, including National Public Radio, the New York Times, or even Fox News.
Your intrepid Pentagon correspondent was briefly on Mayor Pete's schedule, when his director of campaign operations Max Harris set up an interview for Feb. 26. But less than an hour later, Harris emailed back to say he might have to reschedule the interview due to scheduling conflicts.
Four months of silence followed. (To be fair, his campaign manager Lis Smith did confirm in March that Buttigieg had formed an exploratory committee to run for president.)