(WAVY) — The United States Department of Veterans Affairs is covering medical expenses for U.S. veterans who are in an acute suicidal crisis.
The VA defines an acute suicidal crisis as a person who’s determined to be at imminent risk of self-harm by a trained crisis responder or health care provider.
According to the VA, any veteran can receive the benefit, enrolled in the VA or not. The benefit covers health care at VA and non-VA facilities.
The free coverage will:
- Provide, pay for, or reimburse for treatment of eligible individuals’ emergency suicide care, transportation costs, and follow-up care at a VA or non-VA facility for up to 30 days of inpatient care and 90 days of outpatient care.
- Make appropriate referrals for care following the period of emergency suicide care.
- Determine eligibility for other VA services and benefits.
- Refer eligible individuals for appropriate VA programs and benefits following the period of emergency suicide care.
“Veterans in suicidal crisis can now receive the free, world-class emergency health care they deserve – no matter where they need it, when they need it, or whether they’re enrolled in VA care,” said VA Secretary for Veterans Affairs Denis McDonough. “This expansion of care will save Veterans’ lives, and there’s nothing more important than that.”
The VA said this benefit will provide suicide care to about 9 million veterans who are not enrolled in the VA.
Eligible veterans include:
- Veterans who were discharged or released from active duty after more than 24 months of active service under conditions other than dishonorable.
- Former members of the armed forces, including reserve service members, who served more than 100 days under a combat exclusion or in support of a contingency operation either directly or by operating an unmanned aerial vehicle from another location who were discharged under conditions other than dishonorable.
- Former members of the armed forces who were the victim of a physical assault of a sexual nature, a battery of a sexual nature, or sexual harassment while serving in the armed forces.
For more information, click here.
If you’re a veteran in crisis or concerned about one, contact the Veterans Crisis Line to receive 24/7 confidential support. You don’t have to be enrolled in VA benefits or health care to connect. To reach responders, Dial 988 then Press 1, chat online at VeteransCrisisLine.net/Chat, or text 838255.
For information on programs, events, presentations and support groups the National Alliance on Mental Illness offers, click here.
If you or someone you know is in crisis, call the Suicide Prevention Line at 1-800-273-TALK.
Check WAVY.com for the latest updates.