Hayes Sponsored Legislation To Improve Mental Health Care For Veterans Included In Legislation That Passed The House

September 23, 2020
Press Release

Today, the House passed S.785, the Commander John Scott Hannon Veterans Mental Health Care Improvement Act and H.R. 8247, the Veterans COMPACT Act.

“I am pleased the Commander JSH Veterans Mental Health Care Improvement Act includes texts from my bills, the VA Mental Health Staffing Act and VA Mental Health Counseling Act.” said Congresswoman Hayes.

“After courageously serving our country, service members and veterans deserve the best possible care and direct access to services that ease their transition back to civilian life. They have already sacrificed so much and should not have to worry about where and how to access VA mental health services and support. This legislation will ensure the VA is equipped with the resources to deliver the support needed to prevent veteran suicide.

“I look forward to the Senate passing the Veterans COMPACT Act and both bills being signed into law by the President.”

H.R. 8144, the VA Mental Health Staffing Act:

  • Directs the VA to review its mental health staffing plan and report back to Congress about how many mental health care provider positions are necessary, how many are unfilled, and how the Department plans to address those gaps, including any geographically-specific recruitment and retention incentives.
  • Requires VA to also share with Congress any legislative authority necessary to meet appropriate mental health staffing goals.

H.R. 8145, the VA Mental Health Counseling Act:

  • Directs the VA to develop individual occupational series and separate staffing plans for two categories of mental health providers relatively new in the Department: licensed professional mental health counselors (LPMHCs) and marriage and family therapists (MFTs). VA is directed to develop the two occupational series in consultation with the Office of Personnel Management.
  • Requires VA to report back to Congress on how many have been hired, how many positions are as yet unfilled, and how the Department plans to recruit and retain LPMHCs and MFTs.

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Rep. Jahana Hayes has been a public school teacher in Connecticut for more than 15 years 

and was recognized in 2016 as the National Teacher of the Year.

Currently serving her first term in the U.S. House of Representatives, Rep. Hayes sits on the Committees on Education & Labor and Agriculture and proudly represents Connecticut’s 5th District.