Supporting Our Servicemembers and Recognizing Military Mental Health Awareness Day

Earlier today I joined the Mental Health Caucus to deliver remarks on the Servicemembers Telemedicine and E-Health Portability Act, or STEP Act, a bill I introduced last year that passed into law in December of 2011.

At a time when the military is experiencing increased demand for behavioral health services, the Department of Defense has been unable to fill shortages in key health service areas, due in part to state laws that require health care professionals to hold licenses in the states where the care is received. The STEP Act, now Public Law 112-81, Section 713, expands state licensure exemptions to allow DoD credentialed health care professionals to work across state borders and offer care to our servicemembers regardless of their physical location.

Other guest speakers included Dr. Anthony Hassan, USC Center for Innovation and Research on Veterans and Military Families, who gave a military mental health update, as well as several panelists from the Department of Defense to provide a mental health update from the Air Force, Marines and Army.

Our servicemembers have made tremendous sacrifices for our country, and many face serious conditions including the potential of anxiety, depression, anger, and a growing number of those experiencing Post Traumatic Stress Injury. F or one reason or another, all too many of these cases tragically results in suicide. One service member taking his or her own life is too many.

Yesterday evening from the House floor I delivered the following remarks to thank everyone involved in Military Mental Health Awareness Day as we continue the important work of delivering care to these brave men and women that have served this country with honor and distinction. Click below to view the remarks.