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. Sam Yingling, D-Grayslake, intended to help returning service members transition into civilian life and prevent veteran suicide.
“The toughest part of our veteran’s journey shouldn’t be their transition home,” said Yingling. “What makes this country special is that we stand up at baseball games for veterans, we put them in first class on their airplanes, and thank them for their service while walking in the neighborhood. But our government programs’ ability to meet veterans’ needs, especially for mental health, do not meet the moral commitment that our citizens demand. Enough is enough.”
According to a recent study by the United States Department of Veterans Affairs, 22 veterans commit suicide every day in this country. Yingling is working to address this crisis by sponsoring House Bill 2647. House Bill 2647 is a package of reforms to streamline 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. The reforms are recommendations of the Illinois Task Force on Veterans’ Suicide, which Yingling voted to create in 2014. The panel of legislators, veterans and their advocates met throughout the state to gather information and craft legislation that will allow the state to more effectively meet the needs of the veteran community.
The bill would also cut red tape and expedite filing of discharge paperwork, so veterans can begin receiving mental health treatment, job training and other services sooner. The state would work with the Department of Defense in creating a system where this important information is immediately filed when a service member is discharged from the Armed Forces. The IDVA would also partner with local chambers of commerce to create employer training programs for returning veterans and highlight “veteran friendly” employers.
“We have asked a small percent of our country to fight 100% of our wars,” Yingling continued. “As our troops have gone beyond the call of duty during their service, so should we back home in providing them the care they deserve.”
Visit Rep Yingling’s website
237-E Stratton Office Building
Springfield, IL 62706
1919 IL Route 83
Round Lake Beach, IL 60073
(847) 231-6102 FAX