Trump signs order expanding mental health benefits for veterans

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President Donald Trump's administration is aiming to curb the number of veteran suicides by improving mental health treatment for the high-risk group.

The order will take effect March 9 and is expected to provide all new veterans with mental-health care for at least a year after they leave the military.

"We want them to get the highest care and the care that they so richly deserve".

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The president signed a new executive order Tuesday titled "Supporting Our Veterans During Their Transition from Uniformed Service to Civilian Life".

Veterans who have left the military within 3 to 12 months earlier are three times more likely to commit suicide than service members in active duty, according to a study from the Naval Postgraduate School.

"Currently, up until your executive order, only 40 percent of those servicemembers had coverage in the VA to get mental health", Shulkin said.

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"These findings are deeply concerning, which is why I made suicide prevention my top clinical priority", VA Secretary David J. Shulkin, said in a statement following a report on veteran suicides.

Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said in VA news release that his department looks forward to continuing to work with VA and making sure that veterans receive the care they need.

Dr. Shulkin said roughly 40 percent of new veterans now have mental health coverage, which he regarded as intolerable given the high rate of suicide among veterans. "We will be covering all separating military members who are transitioning into civilian life".

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