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Gonzalez Introduces Bipartisan Legislation to Address Veteran Mental Health

Representatives Anthony Gonzalez (OH-16), Jim Langevin (RI-02), Mariannette Miller-Meeks (IA-02), and Sara Jacobs (CA-53) introduced the bipartisan Daniel J. Harvey Jr. and Adam Lambert Improving Servicemember Transition to Reduce Veteran Suicide Act. The bill would counsel servicemembers about mental health, the challenges they might face during the transition to civilian life, and the services available to them at their local Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) medical facility. Senators Brown (D-OH), Ernst (R-IA), Blumenthal (D-CT), and Whitehouse (D-RI) have introduced companion legislation in the U.S. Senate.

“We can never repay our servicemen and women for the sacrifice they make to keep our country safe,” Gonzalez said. “Unfortunately, the transition for these brave men and women back into civilian life can be challenging. I am proud to join my colleagues in introducing this bipartisan legislation that will help address the mental health issues our servicemen and women face and assist them with adjusting to civilian life.”

“Rhode Islander Lance Corporal Daniel Harvey Jr. was an American hero who bravely served his country. Sadly, Daniel suffered from PTSD, a condition that has afflicted so many of our nation’s warriors once they return home from combat," said Rep. Langevin. “This bipartisan legislation will improve access to quality mental health care for our women and men in uniform and help them transition back into their communities safely. I am committed to advancing this bill alongside my colleagues in the House and Senate for Daniel’s sake and for the countless other veterans struggling to cope with the hidden scars of battle.”

“Cpl. Adam Lambert and Lance Cpl. Daniel Harvey were American heroes. We are all well aware of the difficulties many servicemembers have transitioning to civilian life and we owe it to our veterans to help them during this challenging time,” said Miller-Meeks. “It is so important that we continue to end the stigma around mental health treatment and encourage everyone to get help when they need it. This is yet another bipartisan piece of legislation that will honor an Iowa hero and improve mental health in our veteran community.”

“San Diego is home to one of the largest populations of active-duty military personnel, veterans, and their families around the country,” said Jacobs. “Many of these servicemembers have made San Diego their home, and it is our responsibility to honor their sacrifice by providing comprehensive services as they transition to civilian life. The Daniel J. Harvey Jr. and Adam Lambert Improving Servicemember Transition to Reduce Veteran Suicide Act helps us meet that goal. We are giving the Veterans Administration additional tools to reach out to those who need it most. This bipartisan bill will help honor their commitment to our country and uphold our duty to return servicemembers safely home to their families.”


The bill would create a pilot program to add a new component to the Transition Assistance Program (TAP) and be established at ten different Transition Assistance Center locations, which serve at least 300 members annually. TAP counseling would include discussion related to possible loss of community or identity crises while transitioning to civilian life, as well as the five stages of grief. Servicemembers would be provided with information regarding the mental health programs and benefits at their local VA facility. The bill would also require servicemembers to submit their medical records to the VA.

The bill would also require a social worker or mental health professional from their local VA to call the servicemember within 90 days of transitioning to set up an appointment.

Gonzalez has been a strong advocate supporting our nation’s veterans. Earlier this year, he reintroduced legislation to help local service providers collaborate more effectively with the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs and streamline the processes necessary to help house America’s veterans.  




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