Ed. note: Tune in to WhiteHouse.gov/live today at 3:00 pm EDT to watch President Obama speak to troops at Fort Bliss about our responsibility to stand by those who have served as we wind down the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Since September 11, 2001, more than two million service members have deployed to Iraq or Afghanistan, many of them serving with unprecedented duration and frequency. Long deployments and intense combat conditions require optimal support for the emotional and mental health needs of our service members and their families, and ensuring that they receive the support they deserve is a top priority for the Obama Administration.
That's why today, President Obama signed an Executive Order that will help the federal government better meet the current and future demand for mental health and substance abuse treatment services for our troops and veterans, as well as their families.
Building on the ongoing efforts to expand these services, today's Executive Order:
- Strengthens suicide prevention efforts across the force and in the veteran community
- Enhances access to mental health care by building partnerships between VA and community providers
- Increases the number of VA mental health providers serving our veterans
- Promotes mental health research and development of more effective treatment methodologies
- Launches a government-wide collaborative effort to address these issues through a Military and Veterans Mental Health Interagency Task Force