Sen. Donnelly Care Package Looks to Increase Mental Health Services

U.S. Senator Joe Donnelly is looking to provide additional mental healthcare services to members of the armed services.

During a conference call with reporters Wednesday afternoon, Donnelly said the “Care Package” legislation – which is part of the broader National Defense Authorization Act – aims to increase access to healthcare services provided through the Department of Defense and community healthcare providers.

He says there’s a strong need for the service.

“These young men and women have seen things and dealt with issues we can’t even imagine,” says Donnelly. “The challenges that they’ve faced in places like Iraq and Afghanistan and for veterans, places like Vietnam, issues they’re still dealing with every day.”

The “Care Package” received bipartisan support this month in the Senate’s Armed Services Committee.

According to Indiana’s Democratic Senator, he hopes to build upon the success of the 2014 Jacob Sexton Act – which looks to reduce veteran suicides. The “Care Package” provides incentives for evidence-based mental health treatments, and creates an online registry of community service providers.

Donnelly says service members would simply go online to find the information.

“A service member can go online and check on the computer and see who in the area they live in, which private provider is considered a service member family provider, has an understanding of the challenges they have dealt with and so they’ll feel very comfortable going and talking to somebody with that designation,” says Donnelly.

According to Donnelly, more than 20 veterans commit suicide on a daily basis.

The legislation now moves to the full Senate for further consideration.