The American Legion’s “Buddy Check” program has been a great tool for our membership, and we were proud to endorse legislation that expands this program to VA. This legislation has since been included in a comprehensive package that includes dozens of bipartisan mental healthcare provisions that The American Legion supports – now we need your help to call on the Senate to pass the bill.
The STRONG Veterans Act (Support The Resiliency of Our Nation’s Great Veterans Act) calls on the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to designate a “National Buddy Check Week.” It is modeled after The American Legion’s successful Buddy Check program, which nearly 4,000 local posts a year have used to help veterans in need since 2019. It also includes dozens of provisions that come from standalone pieces of legislation The American Legion supports.
A Buddy Check Week designation is vital because it will be a concentrated effort, with the support of VA, to improve mental health outreach. That, of course, also ties in to the Legion’s “Be the One” campaign to reduce the rate of veteran suicide.
The legislation promises to bring additional improvements to the mental health care of our nation’s veterans. Those include:
• Funding research on veterans mental health and treatment.
• Making the Peer Specialist Support program permanent.
• Increasing full-time staffing at VA Vet Centers and expanding eligibility for treatment.
• Expanding existing scholarship and loan programs for students and mental health providers.
In June, the U.S. House of Representatives approved the measure in a bipartisan voice vote. It now awaits action in the Senate. With only a few months left in the 117th session of Congress, we cannot afford to let this opportunity to improve mental health care for veterans lapse. You can help prevent this from happening by urging your Senators to support H.R.6411 – the STRONG Veterans Act. It takes just a few moments by visiting this link.
The American Legion proudly supports this legislation, and asks that you call on your Senators to pass H.R. 6411 today!