Sep 23 2021

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senator Thom Tillis (R-NC) introduced legislation to expand Vet Center eligibility for counseling and related mental health services to families of servicemembers or veterans of the Armed Forces who died by suicide.

“It’s a heartbreaking tragedy, particularly for families, when a veteran or servicemember takes his or her life,” said Senator Tillis. “These families sacrifice so much, and they deserve to be cared for in a time of need. This legislation ensures loved ones of our servicemembers and veterans who died by suicide have access to mental health treatments during that painful time by expanding vet center eligibility to the families. No one should have to walk alone in their grief, and I am proud to join Congressman Rouzer by introducing this legislation in the Senate. I will continue to work to make sure our brave men and women in uniform, and their families, are always taken care of.”

The Expanding the Families of Veterans Access to Mental Health Services Act will allow families of members or veterans of the Armed Forces who died by suicide to receive mental health treatment at Vet Centers. The bill also retroactively covers families of veterans who had previously died by suicide before enactment of this legislation.

Congressman David Rouzer (NC-07) introduced companion legislation in the House of Representatives.

“Grief can be extremely isolating, and the families of servicemembers and veterans who have died by suicide should not have to worry about enduring the difficult journey alone,” said Congressman Rouzer. “I am proud to introduce this important bill on behalf of our military families who have lost a loved one to suicide. Passage of this bill would mean that these families can receive the critical mental health services they need to help guide them through their recovery. Congress must ensure that these military families have access to the care and help they deserve.”