Members of Congress voice support of Buddy Checks
Sen. Joni Ernst, R-Iowa.

Members of Congress voice support of Buddy Checks

Sponsors of legislation directing the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to establish a “Buddy Check Week” – modeled after The American Legion’s successful Buddy Check program – have voiced their support of the bipartisan effort to pass legislation aimed at combatting veteran suicide.

Watch videos of support for the legislation from Sens. Joni Ernst, R-Iowa, and Doug Jones, D-Ala.; and Reps. Mike Thompson, D-Calif.; Chrissy Houlahan, D-Pa.; and Don Bacon, R-Neb.

The “Buddy Check Week” legislation will require the VA to provide educational opportunities, materials, and references for veterans to learn how to conduct personal wellness checks. Additionally, the bill compels VA to expand resources for the Veterans Crisis Line to handle any potential increased usage during the designated week.

“I’m mindful of the strong community of veterans who — throughout military service and beyond — have strived to lift of those around them,” said Houlahan, a U.S. Air Force veteran. “I’m proud to be part of the effort to promote “Buddy Check Week,” especially during these very tough times of COVID-19. It’s okay not to be okay. It’s okay to ask for help. It’s okay to ask your buddy for help.”

The American Legion launched a "Buddy Check Week" a few years ago that has since been expanded and encourages Legionnaires to conduct veteran outreach as part of their daily routine. The idea is to reconnect with veterans who may need assistance but don't know where to go or who to ask.

“Our most sacred responsibility as a nation is to care for our fellow men and women who have served this nation with honor,” American Legion National Commander James W. "Bill" Oxford said. “We strongly support legislation that expands this program to VA.”

The American Legion proudly supports "Buddy Check Week" legislation and asks that you contact your senators and representative and tell them to co-sponsor and support S.4657/H.R.2898 today. Send a message here.