SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – Veterans will have better access to health services, treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and job training under legislation backed by state Rep. Scherer, D-Decatur, intended to help returning service members transition into civilian life and prevent veteran suicide.
“We need to make sure we are doing all we can to protect our veterans,” said Scherer. “We need to make sure they have the access to the services they need when they return from combat after giving their service to their country.”
According to a recent study by the United States Department of Veterans Affairs, 22 veterans commit suicide every day in this country. Scherer is working to address this crisis by sponsoring a package of reforms streamlining access to existing services for veterans and providing new accommodations for returning service members as they seek civilian jobs and educational opportunities, all in an effort to reduce the number of veteran suicides.
Scherer is sponsoring House Bill 2647, which would require the Illinois Department of Veteran Affairs (IDVA) to create several programs to better serve veterans with PTSD and other service-related mental illnesses. Scherer’s legislation would also work to improve the mental health training provided to veterans’ assistance commissions and other veterans’ groups, as well as cut red tape and expedite filing of discharge paperwork, so veterans can begin receiving mental health treatment, job training and other services sooner.
“Often, the injuries received in war are not always visible, and they can still hurt long after the war is over,” said Scherer. “This legislation will help to ensure that wounded warriors have the treatment they need for the wounds that cannot always be seen.”