Veterans experiencing suicidal crisis are now able to go to any VA or non-VA health care facility for emergency health care free of charge. 

Effective Jan. 17,  U.S. military veterans in an “acute suicidal crisis” can receive free treatment, including inpatient care up to 30 days and outpatient care for up to 90 days.

The expanded care was announced by the Dept. of Veterans Affairs, and is meant to “prevent veteran suicide by guaranteeing no cost, world-class care to veterans in times of crisis.” Veterans do not have to be currently enrolled in VA to take advantage of this service.  

During a time of crisis, extending this mental care benefit will help prevent suicides when veterans need it most. This benefit also boosts access for nearly 9 million veterans who are not currently enrolled in VA.

According to the VA, their 2022 National Veteran Suicide Prevention Annual Report, showed fewer veteran suicides for a second year in a row and that fewer veterans died by suicide in 2020 than in any year since 2006. A few core highlights include:

  • In 2019 and 2020, veteran suicides reduce in consecutive years by 307 and 343 deaths — the biggest decrease in the suicide count and rate since 2001. 
  • From 2019 to 2020, veteran suicide rates fell across all racial groups. 

Eligible individuals, regardless of VA enrollment status, are:

  • Veterans who were discharged or released from active duty after more than 24 months of active service under conditions other than dishonorable.
  • Former members of the armed forces, including reserve service members, who served more than 100 days under a combat exclusion or in support of a contingency operation either directly or by operating an unmanned aerial vehicle from another location who were discharged under conditions other than dishonorable.
  • Former members of the armed forces who were the victim of a physical assault of a sexual nature, a battery of a sexual nature, or sexual harassment while serving in the armed forces.

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