Congressman Tim Ryan Co-Sponsors Legislation Giving Greater Mental Health Access to Veterans

Apr 25, 2013 Issues: Health Care

Washington, DC – Congressman Tim Ryan, Co-Chairman of the Military Mental Health Caucus, today co-sponsored the bi-partisan Veterans Mental Health Accessibility Act, which was introduced by Congressman Matt Cartwright (PA). Currently, veterans face a five-year window in which they must seek treatment for mental illnesses before losing their higher priority status. This legislation would eliminate the five-year window and allow veterans to seek treatment for service-connected mental illnesses, regardless of when their conditions manifest themselves. 

"Too many veterans are serving their countries and coming home to take their own lives. We need to remain committed to providing these veterans with the health care services they earned, including mental health services,” said Congressman Ryan.

Currently the VA offers healthcare treatment and services to our nation’s veterans who suffer from service-related physical or mental disabilities. While the diagnosis of physical injuries typically is made before or shortly after separation from the military, mental illnesses may not manifest themselves until years later. As the United States military and the VA continue to improve treatment for those who have served, there remains a gap for veterans struggling with mental illnesses.

The Veterans Mental Health Accessibility Act would ensure that the services and treatments available to recently discharged veterans are made available to all who have served in combat. This bill maintains the role of the VA in treating service-related disorders and allows its healthcare professionals to diagnose mental disorders and illnesses according to established procedures.

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Pat Lowry
Communications Director
Congressman Tim Ryan
241 W. Federal Street
Youngstown, OH 44503
P: (330) 740-0193 (Youngstown)
P: (202) 225-5261 (Washington, D.C.)
C: (330) 717-8103