President Trump will on Tuesday order better access to mental health care for veterans transitioning to civilian life in an effort to help a group that is considered at risk for suicide.
Administrative officials told reporters Tuesday that Trump will sign an executive order Tuesday afternoon instructing the Departments of Defense, Homeland Security and Veterans Affairs to develop a plan within 60 days to provide “seamless access to mental health treatment and suicide prevention resources" for uniformed service members in the year following military service, administrative officials told reporters.
Within 180 days, the departments must update Trump on the implementation of the plan and outline further reforms to increase access to mental health services. Administration officials said the suicide rate among veterans in the first year following service is twice the average among veterans overall. About 20 veterans die by suicide per day in the U.S., the government estimates.
"That is just an unacceptable number, and we are focused on doing everything we can to prevent these veterans' suicides," said Veterans Affairs Secretary David Shulkin.
The cost of the program will be a couple of hundred million dollars per year, officials said, with the money coming out of the Defense Department and VA budgets.
Trump will sign the executive order at 1:45 p.m.