Quirk-Silva Authors Law to Protect Veterans’ Health
(SACRAMENTO) – Today, during Mental Health Awareness Week, Assemblywoman Sharon Quirk-Silva (D-Orange County) announces that Assembly Bill 974 (AB 974) was signed into law, by Governor Jerry Brown. AB 974 will require all counties to submit an annual report to the legislature on Mental Health Services Act spending on clinical services provided to veterans.
“In Southern California and throughout the country many veterans are not going to the Department of Veterans’ Affairs (VA) for mental health services, leaving the task of outreach and providing long-term care to a patchwork of local services and private nonprofits,” said Quirk-Silva. “We can no longer look the other way or continue to underfund the mental health care system that our veterans use.”
Before, during, or after deployment, some service members experience mental health problems such as depression, anxiety, PTSD, or suicidal thoughts. A 2014 report released by the O.C. Health Care Agency found that an average of 42 veterans committed suicide in Orange County each year between 2009 and 2011, more than any other group surveyed.
It is Mental Illness Awareness Week. It is estimated that more than 1 out of 4 Americans suffer from a diagnosable mental disorder in any given year. Our veterans are especially vulnerable. If you need help, call 1-800-950-NAMI (6264).