Inside: New Potential Funding in the Veterans Improve Act and a quote from Lynn Thomas
On September 23, 2020 in Washington, DC, the U.S. House of Representatives unanimously passed S.785, the Commander John Scott Hannon Veterans Mental Health Care Improvement Act.
This Act is designed to better serve veterans and connect them with mental health services. This legislation included provisions championed by Congressman Andy Barr (KY-06) to strengthen access for veterans to mental health services incorporating horses in addressing post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), depression, anxiety, and suicide prevention.
The bill had already passed the Senate and has now gone to the President for final approval.
This is a big win for Eagala and our Eagala Military Services designated programs. It allocates multi-year funding to state and local organizations which will provide opportunities for Eagala programs to serve more veterans.
Eagala Military Services Director, Halina Kowalski, and Eagala Legislative Director, Ellen Stroud, are working closely with legislators and government agencies associated with this legislation to educate and advocate for the high standards and national network of Eagala Military Services programs as a key support and participant in the pilot projects as established in the act. Their incredible work on behalf of Eagala members is thanks to the support and collaboration of the Eagala network!
Congressman Barr’s office released a press release on Sept. 25th on this exciting legislation which included a quote by Lynn Thomas, Eagala founder and CEO.
“Eagala is grateful to Congressman Barr’s advocacy for mental health services incorporating horses to be included as a covered suicide prevention service in S. 785,” said Lynn Thomas, who serves as the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of The Equine Assisted Growth and Learning Association (Eagala), a national equine assisted therapy organization.
“It is critical that alternate therapies, like psychotherapy with horses, be supported in this bill. Thousands of veterans across the country already use equine-assisted services in their road to recovery. This successful approach in addressing post-traumatic stress, depression, anxiety and other mental health needs allows the veteran to recover in an interactive environment that suits their needs.
Eagala commends Congressman Barr for ensuring that psychotherapy incorporating horses is a covered service to treat mental health issues and prevent combat veteran suicide in this landmark legislation.”