Image Copyright: C.J. Lin/Stars and Stripes
By C.J. Lin
Copyright: Stars and Stripes
WASHINGTON — A new bill aimed at improving suicide prevention for veterans was introduced in the U.S. Senate on Thursday, as nearly 2,000 flags were planted within view of the Capitol — each one representing a current or former service member who had committed suicide so far this year.
Sen. John Walsh, D-Mont., introduced the Suicide Prevention for America’s Veterans Act, which includes provisions extending combat eligibility for health care from five years to 15 years, and establishing a process for reviewing potentially wrongful discharges and reversing those which may have been caused by mental health issues.
Persons who served in a theater of combat operations after November 11, 1998, and were discharged on or after January 28, 2003, currently have special eligibility to enroll in the VA health care system for five years from your date of discharge or release, according to the Department of Veterans Affairs.