FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: HHS Press Office
Statement from HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius on Veterans Day
This Veterans Day, we honor all those who have served in our nation’s armed forces and are grateful for their service and dedication to our country. But we do more than honor them. The Obama administration and the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) are committed to the men and women who have served our nation and are helping to ensure that they lead fulfilling lives at home.
This includes improving job opportunities for veterans and providing military families with the resources they need to thrive. By expanding opportunities for veterans to train as physician assistants, HHS is partnering with the Departments of Defense, Labor, and Veterans Affairs to fast-track veteran medics into crucial jobs in community health centers and other parts of the health care system. Our veterans have shown their military medical training on the battlefield and they should be able to use their hard-earned experience to get good health care jobs.
We recognize the continuing need for veterans, active duty personnel, and members of the National Guard and Reserve to have access to behavioral health services. A new program, made possible by the Affordable Care Act, will boost the number of graduate level social workers and doctoral-trained psychologists who work with rural, vulnerable and underserved populations, including veterans, military personnel, and their families.
HHS partners with Veterans Affairs to ensure that veterans in emotional crisis have free access to qualified, caring VA counselors. The Veterans Crisis Line is operational 24/7 at 1-800-273-TALK/8255. Through this partnership, the VA has answered more than 687,000 calls since the line was launched in August 2007, with more than 24,500 emergency rescues of people who were at imminent risk of harming themselves.
We are especially grateful to the many veterans who continue to serve our nation as U.S. Public Health Service Commissioned Corps officers and civilian employees of HHS, providing the critical services that so many Americans depend on every day. Ensuring support for all our veterans is a high priority for our department, and we remain committed to making a difference in the lives of veterans and their families.
For more information on how HHS works to support veterans and military families, please visit www.samhsa.gov/militaryfamilies.
Note: All HHS press releases, fact sheets and other news materials are available at http://www.hhs.gov/news.
Follow HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius on Twitter @Sebelius .
Last revised: April 4, 2014