VA to Provide Mental Health Care for Previously Excluded Veterans

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Urgent mental health care will be offered to U.S. veterans with less-than-honorable discharges, the Department of Veterans Affairs says.

Currently, such discharges can prevent veterans from receiving federal benefits. The VA said the new coverage will be available by June or July, the Associated Press reported.

The coverage is needed to help veterans who are more likely to have mental health distress, according to VA Secretary David Shulkin, who said the vast majority of veterans who commit suicide have not been connected to VA care.

"This is a national emergency that requires bold action," Shulkin said. "Far too many veterans have fallen victim to suicide, roughly 20 every day."

Less than honorable discharges typically occur for misconduct such as violence or use of illegal drugs, the AP reported.

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