Bost unveils sweeping legislation to expand, improve VA mental health care

U.S. Rep. Mike Bost (R-IL) on Jan. 18 signed on as the original cosponsor of comprehensive bipartisan legislation that would make numerous improvements in the mental health care provided by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA).

Based on 22 bipartisan bills, the Support the Resilience of Our Nation’s Great (STRONG) Veterans Act of 2022, H.R. 6411, is sponsored by U.S. Rep. Mark Takano (D-CA) and would provide the VA with new authorities and resources to support veterans’ mental health and well-being through increased training, outreach, mental healthcare delivery, and research. 

“The sluggish recovery from COVID-19, the failed withdrawal from Afghanistan, and our struggling economy have taken a toll on the mental health of all Americans, including our service members and veterans,” Rep. Bost said. “As its name suggests, this bill includes a number of bipartisan, bicameral proposals to strengthen VA’s mental health and suicide prevention programs to save lives. 

“It will help more veterans and military families get the help they need, when and where they need it,” added the congressman.

H.R. 6411 was developed by members in both chambers’ Veterans’ Affairs committees in consultation with Veterans Service Organizations, according to information provided by Rep. Bost’s office.

Among several provisions, the bill would open eligibility for more student veterans at veteran centers; expand culturally competent suicide prevention at the VA for minority and Native American veterans; increase and expand VA mental health staffing and training; expand the Vet Center workforce; bolster outreach; and improve the Veterans Crisis Line, according to the text of the proposed bill. 

H.R. 6411 has been referred to the U.S. House Veterans’ Affairs Committee, of which Rep. Takano is chairman and Rep. Bost is ranking member, for consideration.