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Executive order aims to minimize suicide among veterans

By order of President Donald Trump, three government agencies must come up with a plan to improve conditions for military veterans who are facing difficulties adjusting to civilian life. On the second Tuesday of the year, the President ordered Homeland Security, the Department of Defense and Veterans Affairs to coordinate the formulation of a new strategy aimed to reduce the high rates of suicides among veterans from Florida and around the country who are returning from the protracted armed conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan, which in recent years have expanded to Syria and parts of the African region.

Compared to active duty members, veterans who have left the service are three times more likely to suffer from anguish and emotional turmoil often caused by post-traumatic stress disorder, high anxiety and debilitating depression; these are factors that increase the potential for suicidal thoughts. A troubling report from 2014 indicates that 20 veterans committed suicide on a daily basis during that year, and this is something that the current VA Secretary wants to address immediately.

He is ready to implement a new mental health treatment that will last up to a year for the benefit of veterans who are separating from active service. Part of the strategy would be to ensure that these veterans are enrolled before they get their DD-214 discharge documents or their NGB-22 forms from active National Guard units.

As with other plans to expand veterans' benefits, time will tell if this new initiative is implemented to satisfaction. Issues related to bureaucracy are unfortunately too common, and veterans might want to have the assistance of an attorney when filing their claims.

Source: USA Today, "Trump expands mental health benefits to decrease suicide rates among new veterans", Donovan Slack, Jan. 9, 2018

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