Hoeven Joins Colleagues in Calling on VA to Address Impact of Afghanistan Withdrawal on Veterans' Mental Health

BISMARCK, N.D. – Senator John Hoeven, a member of the Senate Military Construction and Veterans Affairs Appropriations Committee, today joined Senators Maggie Hassan (D-N.H.), Joni Ernst (R-Iowa), and 32 other senators in calling on the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to develop a comprehensive outreach plan to connect Afghanistan and Global War on Terrorism (GWOT) veterans to VA benefits and services. Today’s letter outlines the critical need to provide mental health resources geared at preventing suicide among service members following a recent report revealing that calls to veterans’ suicide hotlines have increased since the fall of Kabul earlier this month. 

“As a country, we must keep the physical and mental wellbeing of our veterans at the forefront of our minds and efforts,” wrote the senators. “Especially given the constant media coverage and disturbing images coming out of Afghanistan, we ask for your commitment to developing a comprehensive outreach plan for our Global War on Terrorism, and specifically our Afghanistan veterans. We must fulfill our obligation to those who served and never forget their sacrifices.”

In addition to Senators Hoeven, Hassan and Ernst, the letter was signed by Senators Bill Cassidy (R-La.), Raphael Warnock (D-Ga.), Tammy Baldwin (D-Wisc.), Michael Bennet (D-Col.), Mike Braun (R-Ind.), Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.), Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.), Bob Casey (D-Penn.), Susan Collins (R-Maine), Catherine Cortez Masto (D-Nev.), Mike Crapo (R-Idaho), Steve Daines (R-Mont.), Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), John Hickenlooper (D-Col.), Tim Kaine (D-Va.), Mark Kelly (D-Ariz.), Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), Roger Marshall (R-Kan.), Gary Peters (D-Mich.), Rob Portman (R-Ohio), Jack Reed (D-R.I.), Jim Risch (R-Idaho), Jackie Rosen (D-Nev.), Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii), Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.), Tina Smith (R-Minn.), John Thune (R-S.D.), Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.), Mark Warner (D-Va.) and Ron Wyden (D-Ore.).

Click here to view the full letter.