INDIANAPOLIS -- U.S. Sen. Joe Donnelly’s latest measure to increase military servicemembers’ access to mental health care has been included in annual defense legislation and is expected to pass.
Past Donnelly initiatives included annual mental health screenings for all servicemembers. Measures have also incentivized more training for civilian mental health care providers and made it easier to connect service members with resources. Donnelly says the shortage of mental health providers in the military is an ongoing issue.
“Provider shortages lead to increased wait times and can impact the quality of care for servicemembers and their families,” Donnelly says.
Donnelly says training physician assistants to provide mental health care services can help reduce that shortage – including in areas where servicemembers are deployed.
“So they’re right there, at the location with them – when they’re feeling a little bit challenged, they have them right down the hall to talk to,” he says.
Donnelly says his measure has been included in this year’s version of the National Defense Authorization Act, which has been approved every year for the last 54 years.