Veterans will be able to receive mental-health care for at least a year after they leave the military

by Shari L. Modlin LPC Retired Active Duty Army

President Trump signed an executive order that will take effect March 9th, 2018. The executive order is aimed at expanding mental-health care for transitioning veterans as they leave the military, in an effort to reduce suicides in a group that is considered particularly at risk.

This order will provide all new veterans with mental-health care for at least a year after they leave the military. Affairs Secretary David Shulkin stated, “he has identified suicide among veterans as his top clinical priority, and determined that people who are separated from the service for less than a year are between 1 1/2 to two times as likely to commit suicide as any other age group”. The federal government estimates that about 20 veterans per day die by suicide.

Shulkin stated that “about 265,000 service members transition out of the military each year, and the cost of providing them with extended mental health coverage will be in the magnitude of a couple hundred million dollars per year”. It was stated that the Defense Department and VA budgets will provide the additional cost from their budgets. This will allow service members that have transition out of the military will be able to be seen outside of the Veterans Affair Services, and be seen at places like Seneca Health Services Inc.

We all can help to prevent suicide, but many people don’t know what they can do to support the Veteran or Service member in their life who is going through a difficult time. A simple act of kindness can help someone feel less alone.

Suicide prevention can start with one simple act of support: Be There.

Veterans who are considering suicide often show signs of depression, anxiety, low self-esteem, and/or hopelessness, such as:

  • Appearing sad or depressed most of the time
  • Clinical depression: deep sadness, loss of interest, trouble sleeping and eating—that doesn’t go away or continues to get worse
  • Feeling anxious, agitated, or unable to sleep
  • Neglecting personal welfare, deteriorating physical appearance
  • Withdrawing from friends, family, and society, or sleeping all the time
  • Losing interest in hobbies, work, school, or other things one used to care about
  • Frequent and dramatic mood changes
  • Expressing feelings of excessive guilt or shame
  • Feelings of failure or decreased performance
  • Feeling that life is not worth living, having no sense of purpose in life
  • Talk about feeling trapped—like there is no way out of a situation
  • Having feelings of desperation, and saying that there’s no solution to their problems

Their behavior may be dramatically different from previous behavior, or they may appear to be actively contemplating or preparing for a suicidal act through signs such as:

  • Performing poorly at work or school
  • Acting recklessly or engaging in risky activities—seemingly without thinking
  • Showing violent behavior such as punching holes in walls, getting into fights or self-destructive violence; feeling rage or uncontrolled anger or seeking revenge
  • Looking as though one has a “death wish,” tempting fate by taking risks that could lead to death, such as driving fast or running red lights
  • Giving away prized possessions
  • Putting affairs in order, tying up loose ends, and/or making out a will
  • Seeking access to firearms, pills, or other means of harming oneself…/trump-to-unveil-new-executive-order-to-reduce-sui

Suicide Prevention and Veterans – The Connect Project

If you are a Veteran or know a Veteran who is showing any of the above warning signs, please call any of our outpatient services:

Greenbrier County
804 Industrial Park Rd
Maxwelton, WV 24957
304-497-0516 fax

Nicholas County
#1 Stevens Rd
Summersville, WV 26651
304-872-1685 fax

Webster County
70 Parcoal Rd
Webster Springs, WV 26288
304-847-5422 fax

Pocahontas County
704 Third Ave
Marlinton, WV 24954
304-799-6878 fax


Greenbrier County304-497-0500



WEBSTER COUNTY304-847-5425

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