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Senator Hassan Joins in Introducing Bipartisan Legislation to Tackle Rate of National Guard and Reserve Suicide

Bipartisan Bill Expands Guard and Reserve Access to Mental Health Care Regardless of Deployment Status For Servicemembers in New Hampshire and Across Country

WASHINGTON – As part of her efforts to support servicemembers in New Hampshire and across the country in civilian life, Senator Maggie Hassan joined Senators Jon Tester (D-MT), Jerry Moran (R-KS), and others yesterday in introducing bipartisan legislation to address the high rate of suicide among members of the National Guard and Reserve.

Currently, members of the National Guard and Reserves undergo annual health assessments to identify medical issues that could impact their ability to deploy, but almost always they must pay out-of-pocket for any follow-up care. The bipartisan Care and Readiness Enhancement (CARE) for Reservists Act would improve access to consistent mental health care, regardless of the deployment status of members of the National Guard or Reservists.  

“The suicide rate among members of the National Guard and Reservists is alarming, and we must do more to increase access to mental health care and support services to all who sacrifice to defend our freedoms,” Senator Hassan said. “By providing mental health care to members of the Guard and Reservists – regardless of their deployment status – this bipartisan legislation is a step forward in our efforts to support those who serve our nation and help them thrive in civilian life.”

The bipartisan CARE for Reservists Act allows the Defense Department to fund needed behavioral or mental health care, regardless of whether that reservist is within his or her pre-deployment window or has never deployed at all. The bill also allows members of the Guard and Reserve to access Vet Centers for mental health screening and counseling, employment assessments, education training, and other services to help them return to civilian life. Text of the CARE for Reservists Act can be found HERE.

This week, Senator Hassan and Senator Joni Ernst (R-IA) introduced the bipartisan Green Alert Act of 2019 to help states implement “Green Alert” systems to help locate missing at-risk veterans so that they can receive the appropriate care.