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Central Texas veterans plan to take advantage of VA's free mental health services

More than 18 million veterans in the U.S. could be eligible to utilize this program.

BELTON, Texas — Since the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs announced veterans will now be able to utilize free emergency medical care at any Department of Veterans Affairs facility or private facility, Central Texas Veterans are preparing to take advantage.

The Veterans Affairs Life Insurance (VALife), provides guaranteed acceptance and whole life insurance coverage to Veterans age 80 and under with any level of service-connected disability. Some Veterans age 81 and older may also be eligible. 

Belton VA Auxiliary Post 4008 Senior Vice-Commander Bobby Bishoff says this came at a great time for veterans in Central Texas and he hopes everyone who needs to will take advantage of it. 

"It is huge for all all of us. We have vets that are working the border right now that come sit here talk to us at times. They really need the help," Bishoff shared.

In 2020, more than 6,000 veterans took their own life, which is an average of 16 veterans per day.  

This is why the VA is putting mental health at the forefront and helping veterans as much as possible. 

The policy includes treatment at inpatient or crisis residential care for a month, 90 days of outpatient care and even covers ambulance rides. 

Veterans can also receive care at a private facility and the government will cover the costs.

Operation Stand Down Central Texas Director Joann Courtland works with homeless veterans and their families in the community.

She says she helps veterans in need everyday and is glad they'll no longer have to worry about paying to get mental health help.

"As veterans, we believe that we're supposed to be hard charging and mental health is not something that has been readily discussed. So I'm really hoping these free programs will open the door and allow those to get the help they need," Courtland explained. 

If you're a veteran experiencing suicidal thoughts, please reach out to the veterans crisis line any time by calling 988 and press 1. 

If you prefer to text, you can also text the number 838 255. You can also chat online here

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