(Washington, D.C.) – Today, U.S. Senator Patty Murray, Chairman of the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee, made the following statement after the VA announced that it would be moving to hire 1,600 mental health care professionals. The announcement comes just days before the findings of a major VA Inspector General report that Senator Murray requested on long wait times for VA mental health care are expected to be announced. VA’s action is welcome news to Senator Murray who has held multiple hearings over the past year on overcoming barriers to VA mental health care. Murray will hold a third hearing on this subject in order to hear the Inspector General’s findings on Wednesday, April 25th.
“I am pleased that the VA has taken this desperately needed step toward providing timely access to mental health care. Too often we have seen staff vacancies, scheduling delays, and red tape leave those veterans who have been brave enough to seek help in the first place left with nowhere to turn. With suicide rates that continue to be high and an influx of new veterans into the system these barriers to mental health care are completely unacceptable. I look forward to fighting for the resources needed to meet this staffing request as it is clearly a cost of the decade of war that has taken such a toll on our veterans and their families.”