AUSTIN –State Senator Donna Campbell held a press conference at Fort Bliss Monday to discuss Senate Bill 27, the Help For Texas Heroes Act, a new law that provides greater access to mental health care for veterans and their families.
“The Veteran Affairs committees emphasized mental health care this session with the goal of preventing suicide attempts and other health issues that too often negatively impact veterans and their families,” Sen. Campbell said. “Texas has always looked after our veterans, and the Help for Texas Heroes Act strengthens our commitment to those who have answered the call to serve this great nation.”
The latest figures from the Veterans Administration suggest that approximately 20 veterans tragically lose their lives to suicide every day. The Help for Texas Heroes Act takes steps to reduce that figure by addressing the shortage of field clinicians, particularly in rural areas.
In 2015, the Legislature created the Veterans Mental Health Program to provide dedicated services to Texas veterans. The Help for Texas Heroes Act expands on the success of that program through the addition of licensed mental health professionals at the Local Mental Health Authorities.
“This bill had overwhelming bipartisan support from day one,” said Senator Campbell. “I am especially thankful to Representative Blanco for carrying it in the House, to Lieutenant Governor Patrick for giving it a low bill number, and to Governor Abbott for enthusiastically signing it into law.”
The House sponsor of SB 27, Rep. Cesar Blanco, and Sen. Jose Rodriguez, both of El Paso, were also in attendance to provide remarks. Following the press conference, they joined military personnel for a briefing and tour of Fort Bliss.