Dear American Legion Family members and friends,
Following closely on the heels of the successful PACT Act passage, another piece of legislation The American Legion strongly endorses is the STRONG Veterans Act, which would make The American Legion-born Buddy Check initiative a national VA requirement.
The STRONG Veterans Act (Support The Resiliency of Our Nation's Great Veterans Act) calls on the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to designate a “National Buddy Check Week.” It is modeled after The American Legion’s successful Buddy Check program, which nearly 4,000 local posts a year have used to help veterans in need since 2019. It also includes dozens of provisions that come from standalone pieces of legislation The American Legion supports.
A Buddy Check Week designation is vital because it will be a concentrated effort, with the support of VA, to improve mental health outreach. That, of course, also ties in to the Legion’s “Be the One” campaign to reduce the rate of veteran suicide.
The legislation promises to bring additional improvements to the mental health care of our nation’s veterans. Those include:
• Funding research on veterans mental health and treatment.
• Making the Peer Specialist Support program permanent.
• Increasing full-time staffing at VA Vet Centers and expanding eligibility for treatment.
• Expanding existing scholarship and loan programs for students and mental health providers.
In June, the U.S. House of Representatives approved the measure in a bipartisan voice vote. It now awaits action in the Senate. The legislation has sat in the Senate for several months already. We cannot afford to let this opportunity to improve mental health care for veterans lapse.
Add your voice to help get this important legislation passed.
Thank you for your support and your contributions toward making The American Legion the leader in ….
Veterans Strengthening America.
Vincent J. “Jim” Troiola