Representatives Tim Ryan and Glenn “GT” Thompson Introduce Bill Expanding Veteran’s Access to Wellness Programs
Washington, DC - Representatives Tim Ryan and Glenn “GT” Thompson today introduced the “Veteran Wellness Act,” bipartisan legislation that will improve Veteran Service Organizations’ (VSO) ability to promote good health among our nation’s veterans. Veterans across the country turn to these organizations to participate in a wide variety of programs to build and cultivate a community of support among fellow veterans. These facilities are a place of comfort and familiarity for thousands of men and women and their families. The legislation would expand upon what these organizations are currently doing and create a greater number of opportunities for veterans to access wellness programs and therapies.
“As we approach the end of Mental Health Month and Memorial Day, we reflect on the sacrifices these men and women have made for our country and democracy. There is no doubt that our veterans and returning soldiers deserve a greater level of assistance and care than what is already available to them,” said Rep. Tim Ryan. “By increasing our veterans’ access to integrative therapies and wellness activities, they will have a better chance of getting and staying healthy in both mind and body. This legislation has the support of both the American Legion and the National Guard Association of the United States and should be passed as quickly as possible so these men and women can receive the health services they need.”
“Veteran Service Organizations provide critical resources to those service members transitioning back to civilian life,” said Rep. Thompson. “The Veteran Wellness Act will build upon the existing transitional services made available and offer more options for veterans to access wellness programs and therapies. We owe these brave men and women no less.”
“On behalf of more than 2 million members of The American Legion, I express our support for the Veteran Wellness Act. This legislation would assist veterans by facilitating their participation in holistic and alternative wellness programs such as meditation and Tai-Chi within a community environment,” said Michael D. Helm, National Commander of The American Legion. “The American Legion supports the Veteran Wellness Act and applauds Congressman Ryan and Thompson’s leadership in addressing this critical issue facing our nation’s veterans and their families.”
The Veteran Wellness Act would create a grant program through the Department of Veteran Affairs for VSOs to assist with the modernization and improvement of their facilities to be used for wellness activities. Grant funding will also be provided to expand the ability of VSOs to offer classes that focus on the wellbeing of a veteran through complementary and integrative therapies.