Legislation signed by the Governor last week outlines provisions for the Illinois Department of Veterans’ Affairs (IDVA) to implement recommendations provided by the Veterans’ Suicide Task Force to expand programs to benefit veterans—especially those from high-casualty combat units.
The law recommends the IDVA work with the United States Department of Veterans’ Affairs (USDVA) on veteran outreach, and expand its program offerings based on a report submitted by the Veterans’ Suicide Task Force in December 2016. The Task Force’s recommendations include a public awareness campaign; mental health training; veteran service officer hiring; higher learning; family preparation course; employment; and peer-to-peer program.
The IDVA will reach out to the USDVA in order to identify the veterans returning home from service in combat units, offer help with their home transition, and establish a public awareness campaign concerning veterans’ trauma and internal injuries in order to promote understanding and acceptance from the general public.
The IDVA also plans to provide mental health training for frontline employees at veteran service organizations, such as the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) and American Legion, in order to better identify veterans who might be at risk for suicide.