Veterans need better access to mental health care. Here’s how that can happen

It was a typical day in the clinic. A new client came in for an initial assessment. They disclosed that they had been feeling depressed for a while and, after a little more questioning, acknowledged that they had attempted to take their life just a few days prior – a fact they had not shared with anyone since.

Unfortunately, this client was National Guard member, so they were not eligible for many veteran services. And, because this Guard member did not have stable work, they couldn’t afford the National Guard subsidized health insurance. They were afraid to go to the hospital, because they couldn’t afford it, but let their clinician know that they weren’t sure they could keep themselves safe after their appointment.

It is stories like this that make it painfully clear that our service members, veterans, and military family members are under increased stress and need increased access to the care they deserve. Fortunately, this client went on to successfully complete therapy and today is living a much fuller and happier life.

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