ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) – Veteran suicide. It’s one of the few issues acknowledged on both sides of the aisle as a crisis that needs immediate attention. The Department of Veterans Affairs reports that, on average, 20 veterans and current service members take their own life every day. That number is reportedly only getting worse amid the isolation of this pandemic.
While there’s no conclusive research yet, even the Army Chief of Staff, General James McConville, has said it’s negatively affecting his soldiers.
MVP Healthcare’s medical director believes the isolation is certainly taking its toll.
Dr. Matthew Capuano says, “I agree. You can’t deny that feeling. I think everybody during this whole experience has felt that more than anything.”
Medical professionals, politicians and military brass are all working together to get our service members and veterans the help they need. Locally, MVP Health Care is offering mental health services at no additional charge for its members.
“We’re offering telehealth. We’re offering behavioral health, mental health and emotional wellness resources at no cost, no co-pay for our patriot plan. We’re marching forward and trying to fill the gaps as best we can,” Dr. Capuano said.
Great news coming out of Washington as a bi-partisan bill was just signed into law by the president on October 17th. It provides up to $174 million over the next five years for state and local groups that provide suicide-prevention services to veterans and their families.
Also signed into law, the National Suicide Hotline Designation Act. It designates ‘988’ as the universal phone number for mental health emergencies. It will take effect in 2022.