Veterans healthcare

Montana senator on veteran health and suicide issues

Montana Senior Senator Jon Tester participated in a live videoconference on Thursday about the American Rescue Plan Act and its support for veterans.

“When the pandemic hit, we were able to pass the American Rescue Plan Act to provide all Americans with targeted relief,” Sen. Tester began. “They had to be able to get through the COVID-19 pandemic and that included our veterans and their families. The American Rescue Plan Act has succeeded in firing shots, reopening our schools, and getting a struggling economy back on track.

Tester highlighted how ARPA specifically helps veterans.

“For many veterans, the American Rescue Plan Act has been a lifeline and continues to help give veterans in Montana and across the country the essential care and assistance they deserve. With more and more people seeking care and services from the VA, I am proud to have worked as Chairman of the Senate Committee on Veterans Affairs with veterans and stakeholders, with health care workers frontline and local leaders to secure billions of dollars to support those who have sworn to protect our country to slow the spread of the virus and save lives. »

Tester, chairman of the Veterans Affairs Committee, highlighted ARPA funds being used to help veterans in crisis.

“It has also been critical to ensuring our most vulnerable veterans are protected by bolstering funding for homeless veterans programs and state veterans homes, including $1.5 million for Montana. State Veterans Home,” he said. “It helped expand people’s health care options and reduce out-of-pocket costs, waiving VA co payments for the first 18 months of the pandemic for more than 1.2 million veterans.”

Tester acknowledged that suicide is still a major issue for veterans in Montana and helps veterans seek help.

“We did a lot, but it wasn’t enough,” he said. “We still have a long way to go. And we need to keep educating people that it’s not a crime to admit you’re depressed or it’s not a crime to admit you’re struggling to overcome life’s challenges , because I have news for you. Everyone has these challenges and there is no crime in that. We just need to make sure people can go to the doctor, get the treatment they need to fix that broken arm or fix that mental health issue.

Mayor Helena Wilmot Collins and Maryland National Guard Lt. Col. Marlin Jenkins also participated in the videoconference.

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