January 13, 2023

Ranking Member Takano Applauds VA Implementation of New Program to Care for Veterans Experiencing Suicidal Crisis

A New Program Created Under Ranking Member Takano’s Veterans COMPACT Act of 2020 Ensures Veterans Experiencing Suicidal Crisis Can Receive No-Cost Emergency Mental Health Care

Press Contact

Daniel Santa Cruz

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs Ranking Member Mark Takano (D-Calif.) released the following statement after the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) announced that, starting on January 17, 2023, veterans experiencing an acute suicidal crisis can receive no-cost emergency mental health care at VA or non-VA healthcare facilities. This new benefit is the result of Rep. Takano's COMPACT Act, which was signed into law in December of 2020.


“I am thrilled by Secretary McDonough’s announcement that, beginning next week, VA will fully cover the cost of mental health stabilization care for veterans experiencing suicidal emergencies,” said Ranking Member Takano. “This new benefit removes cost from the equation when veterans are at imminent risk of self-harm and allows them to access lifesaving care when they need it most, regardless of whether the veteran has ever enrolled in or used VA healthcare benefits. VA's launch of the program I championed marks a major step forward in the fight to reduce veteran suicide, but there is more work to do. As we embark on a new year and a new Congress, I will continue to prioritize meaningful solutions to help save veterans’ lives.”


BACKGROUND: When he became Chairman of the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs in 2019, Rep. Mark Takano made reducing veteran suicide his top priority. He introduced the Veterans ACCESS Act in early 2020 to remove financial barriers to mental healthcare faced by veterans in crisis, while also helping veterans connect with other VA healthcare programs and benefits for which they may be eligible, further mitigating their suicide risk. As a result of Rep. Takano’s legislation, VA will now fully cover up to 30 days of inpatient or residential care or up to 90 days of outpatient care for veterans who are experiencing an acute suicidal crisis. The law also requires VA to help veterans access other VA benefits for which they may be eligible after veterans complete mental health treatment. Takano’s Veterans ACCESS Act ultimately became one of nine provisions in the Veterans COMPACT Act, which passed the House in September 2020 and was then signed into law in December 2020.


The Veterans Crisis Line is available 24/7 to any veteran experiencing a mental health crisis. Dial 988 and press 1 to speak with a trained professional or visit VeteransCrisisLine.net/chat.