Press Releases

WASHINGTON – As the country marks National Suicide Prevention Week, U.S. Senator Dean Heller (R-NV) is urging Congress to act on his legislation to help recruit physicians at the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) in an effort to help reduce veteran suicide and provide supportive mental health services to our military heroes fighting invisible injuries. Unfortunately, the state of Nevada has one of the highest rates of veteran suicide in the country.

In July, Heller, along with Senators John Boozman (R-AR) and Jon Tester (D-MT), introduced the bipartisan VA Hiring Enhancement Act, a bill that empowers the VA to better compete for the best and brightest physicians coming out of medical school by allowing the VA to extend contingency offers to residents earlier than currently authorized.    

Heller, a senior member of the U.S. Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee, has a long history of supporting and passing legislation into law that provides mental health resources to veterans and recently raised the issue with VA Secretary Robert Wilkie.

“No veteran in Nevada should have to fight long waits for a mental health appointment,” said Heller. “While Congress has made welcome progress on the issue of reducing veteran suicide, more must be done. One way that lawmakers can help states like Nevada fight high veteran suicide and give our service members the support that they need is by passing our bill to close the physician shortage gap at the VA. I urge my colleagues to join us in supporting and passing the VA Hiring Enhancement Act.”

Earlier this year, the President signed into law his Veteran Urgent Access to Mental Healthcare Act, a bill Heller authored that expands veterans’ access to mental health care services to former service members who may not be eligible to receive health care benefits from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). Additionally, Heller cosponsored a bill that became law last month aimed at improving the national suicide hotline, and his resolution to designate June as National Post-Traumatic Stress Awareness Month unanimously passed the Senate this summer.

During his time in the U.S. Senate, Heller has also championed veterans’ mental health servicesincluding recruitment of medical professionals in rural areas. In 2015, he cosponsored the Clay Hunt SAV Act, bipartisan legislation signed into law aimed at reducing and preventing veteran suicides.



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