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Understaffed VA Ordered To Expand Mental Health Services For Veterans

It's unclear how the Department of Veterans Affairs will implement Trump's order to expand mental health care.
Posted at 9:56 AM, Jan 10, 2018

President Donald Trump signed an executive order Tuesday aimed at expanding mental health services for veterans transitioning from active duty to civilian life. 

But that order is lacking some details. Like how the Department of Veterans Affairs is supposed to boost its available mental health services. 

VA facilities across the U.S. are reportedly already very understaffed, which can lead to veterans waiting for months to see a doctor.  

And VA Secretary David J. Shulkin already expanded mental health services in 2017 to provide emergency care to former service members who received other-than-honorable discharges.  

So if facilities plan to hire more employees, that'll need to happen quickly. Trump's order instructs the VA and other agencies to develop a plan within 60 days to provide every veteran with mental health care for at least one year after they leave the military. The plan must be implemented within 180 days.  

The VA says part of its mental health care expansion will be utilizing group sessions and peer community outreach in all of its facilities. 

The order is part of an effort by the Trump administration to lower the suicide rate of veterans. The VA said about 20 veterans take their own lives each day.