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Obama administration pushes increased mental health care for veterans

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U.S. President Barack Obama is putting increased resources towards aid for veterans and their families.

In an Executive Order, Obama said he aims to expand suicide prevention strategies and bolster mental health and substance abuse treatment services for veterans, service members, and their families.

“Ensuring that all veterans, Active, Guard, and Reserve service members and their families receive the support they deserve is a top priority for the Obama Administration. Since September 11, 2001, more than two million service members have deployed to Iraq or Afghanistan with unprecedented duration and frequency,” the White House said in a statement.

“Long deployments and intense combat conditions require optimal support for the emotional and mental health needs of our service members and their families,” the statement read.

Through the initiative, the Obama administration is working to expand health care services, education resources, housing relief services and bolstering financial readiness.

In education services alone, the White House said that the Department of Defense has awarded $180 million in grants to support military-connected public school districts.

The larger effort, which will work in coordination with other government entities, will also emphasize providing fast, efficient mental care for veterans and their loved ones--after they have identified themselves as suffering from a mental disability. Specifically, they said that the VA will ensure a mental health professional or trained mental health worker to be in contact with the veteran within 24 hours or less.

The order said it aims to increase the Veterans Affairs veteran crisis line capacity by 50 percent by the end of the year.

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