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Opinion: If you are a veteran in crisis or concerned about someone who is, help is here

  • By Patrick Wilder
  • Wednesday, March 15, 2023 6:57pm
  • Opinion

In January, the new COMPACT Act went into effect across the U.S. The COMPACT Act is the Veterans Comprehensive Prevention, Access to Care and Treatment legislation. The Act allows all honorably discharged Veterans who are experiencing a suicidal crisis to go to ANY mental healthcare facility for no-cost treatment. Veterans do NOT need to be enrolled to use this benefit.

This provision makes critical, and potentially live-saving, support available to our dedicated Veteran community who have served our nation.

The COMPACT Act allows the VA to:

— Provide, pay for, or reimburse treatment of eligible individuals’ emergency suicide care, transportation costs and follow-up care at a VA or non-VA facility for up to 30 days of inpatient care and 90 days of outpatient care.

— Make referrals for care following the period of emergency suicide care.

Why this matters:

This expansion of access to care is designed to help prevent veteran suicide by guaranteeing no-cost behavioral healthcare in times of crisis. It will also increase access to suicide care for up to 9 million veterans who are not currently enrolled in VA.

Don’t wait. Help is available. We are listening.

If someone is experiencing an emotional crisis or thoughts of suicide, 24/7 assessments are available by contacting us directly. Further, public helplines include:

— Trevor Lifeline, the only national 24/7 lifeline for LGBTQ youth, is reached at 1-866-488-7386.

— 988, the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline that provides 24/7 no-cost and confidential support for individuals in distress, including prevention and crisis resources for you or your loved ones. Simply call or text 988, or chat 988lifeline.org.

— The Veterans Crisis Line for U.S. Military Veterans, call 988, press 1.

As a behavioral healthcare provider right here in Anchorage our team at Chris Kyle Patriots Hospital is dedicated to #BeThere in a manner that promotes hope, resiliency, connectedness and recovery.

• Patrick Wilder CEO/Managing Director North Star Behavioral Health. Columns, My Turns and Letters to the Editor represent the view of the author, not the view of the Juneau Empire. Have something to say? Here’s how to submit a My Turn or letter.

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