Congressmen Tim Ryan and Conor Lamb Introduce The Whole Veteran Act to Promote Overall Mental Health and Wellness
Washington, DC – Congressmen Tim Ryan (OH-13) and Conor Lamb (PA-17) introduced The Whole Veteran Act (H.R. 2359) which would require the Veterans Administration (VA) to provide Congress with information regarding VA’s Whole Health Program, an integral component to VA’s suicide prevention efforts, ensuring all necessary tools are available to veterans for their individual mental health needs.
“Twenty veterans die by suicide every day in the United States. That’s unacceptable. Some of the wounds our veterans face aren’t always visible, so we need to do a better job of providing them with the mental health resources and tools needed to get on the path to recovery,” said Congressman Ryan. “The Whole Veteran Act will advance our efforts to ensure critical Whole Health programs—including chiropractic services, whole health group services, meditation, and yoga—are available and accessible at every VA facility. Our veterans have sacrificed so much for our country. We owe it to them to provide the care they need when they return home.”
“As a nation, we share a deep concern regarding the high rate of veteran suicide across the country,” said Congressman Lamb. “Physical, emotional, and mental health needs are all interconnected, and it is essential that Whole Health programs and treatments focus on the whole veteran instead of concentrating on an isolated condition. This legislation will help identify the current gaps in availability so the VA, along with Congress, can take the adequate steps to improve the mental health and well-being of all our veterans no matter where they live.”
“If we're serious about reducing veteran suicide, we must provide veterans access to programs that promote overall mental health and wellness,” said House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs Chairman Mark Takano (CA-41). “That’s why I’m proud to support Congressman Lamb’s bill that will ensure VA’s holistic health care programming is available and accessible for our veterans regardless of where they live.”VA’s Whole Health Program is vital to VA’s suicide prevention efforts, yet these services are not available at every facility. The Whole Veteran Act will require VA to provide Congress with information regarding the accessibility and availability of components of Whole Health programs at VA facilities including massage, chiropractic services, whole health clinician services and coaching, acupuncture, healing touch, whole health group services, guided imagery, mediation and yoga, among other holistic treatments.