To Combat Suicide Crisis, All Minnesota + Wisconsin Veterans Can Get Immediate Help For Free
A very important policy rolled out earlier this week and it hasn't nearly gotten the attention that it needs. Every year thousands of our veterans die by suicide. In 2020 alone 6,146 veterans across the country died by suicde. That averaged to 16.8 a day.
In Minnesota, 100 veterans died by suicide in 2020. In Wisconsin, there were 138 deaths in the same year.
To combat this, a new federal policy is in place and it applies not only to VA hospitals but to also private facilities.
If you are suffering from a mental health crisis or emergency, dial 988 for immediate help.
New Policy Took Effect on January 17, 2023
The best news about this policy is that it is for every veteran in crisis, not just those enrolled in the Veteran's Affairs system. According to NBC News, this makes over 18 million veterans eligible for emergency crisis care.
What Is Covered For Veterans In Crisis?
Veterans will not have to pay fees, copays, or even an ambulance ride to a hospital. The government will cover the cost and reimburse veterans for the ambulance ride costs. This covers up to 30 days of inpatient or crisis residential care, and up to 90 days of follow-on outpatient care.
Obstacles Remain For Mental Health
Unfortunately in 2023, there still is a stigma about mental health. Talking to your doctor about mental stresses, symptoms, and problems should be just as routine as going to the doctor about a physical ailment. Many veteran support groups are working on getting the message out that it's okay to ask for help. They are trying to save fellow service members.
One of the takeaways from this new policy is that the free health care offered is working to break down another obstacle. Many veterans may feel they can't afford the care they need. In a time of crisis, this is the last thing they should need to worry about.
Minnesota's Efforts To Combat Veteran Suicide
In 2019, the Governor's office created the Challenge to Prevent Suicide Among SMVF (Service Members, Veterans, and their families). They created a program to investigate how they could prevent veteran suicides and reach out to those veterans having issues. You can read about that in a press release.
The state of Wisconsin has resources for Veterans with its Outreach And Recovery Program. They have them in 72 counties and 11 regions in which you can call or text for help.
Veterans Can Dial 988 for help. Chat and text options are also available.
If you or someone you know are in a mental health crisis, call, or text 988 for help. Visit lifleline988.org for additional resources.