U.S. Sen. Joe Donnelly (D-Indiana) says he’s worked for years to address the mental health of active-duty service members, and he’s now shifting his focus to veterans.
Donnelly’s efforts to address military mental health include requiring an annual mental health assessment for all service members, National Guardsmen and reservists and expanding treatment options, both within and outside the Department of Defense. He says he now wants to expand that legislation to include veterans.
“We’re losing 20 veterans a day to suicide right now. The goal is to get to zero,” Donnelly says.
Expanding treatment options would involve the Department of Veterans Affairs, an agency that’s experienced significant issues in delivering care the last few years. Still, Donnelly says he’s confident in using the VA to help address veteran mental health.
“Well I know the infrastructure is, in many cases, people. And I’ve talked to all of them and they all want in, they all want to solve this problem,” Donnelly says. “And so you start off with incredible goodwill, incredible desire to get it done.”
Donnelly says he’ll work to find solutions that don’t require too much money from the federal budget, which he knows will be in short supply.