Free mental health care now available for veterans
(KTEN) — The Department of Veterans Affairs is hoping a new program can reduce the alarming rate of suicide among former service members.
"Twenty-two kill themselves every day," said Navy veteran Steven Medlin. "That's unacceptable."
A new federal policy lets any vet obtain emergency mental health care wherever and whenever they need it.
"Maybe it would've helped my Dad," said Denison resident Sherrie Wells. "My Dad served, and he had a lot of problems, and he was diagnosed with bipolar and they turned him down so many times. He couldn't got the help he needed. He passed away in '95."
Army veteran Richard Olson believes this program will save lives.
"I know a lot of vets that are gone, because they couldn't get the care," Olson said.
Veterans don't need to be enrolled in the VA to receive the care they need, and again — it is free of charge.
Medlin wants other veterans to know it's okay to ask for help.
"Go to wherever you can for the help," he said. "Don't be afraid to reach your hand out and say, 'I just need a little lift,' and that's the hardest thing for service members in particular to ask for help."
If you are a veteran or know a veteran who is in crisis or having thoughts of suicide, call the Veterans Crisis Line at 988, then press 1.