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Health Equity and Access

APA continues to fight for care for veterans with mental health conditions who were inappropriately separated from military service

APA joined Swords to Plowshares, the Harvard Veterans Legal Clinic, and others in sending a letter to Secretary of Veterans Affairs Denis McDonough urging his department to review the discharges of and provide care to veterans with other-than-honorable discharges, many of whom have mental health conditions.

Cite this
Friedl, S. (2021, February 5). APA continues to fight for care for veterans with mental health conditions who were inappropriately separated from military service. http://www.apaservices.org/advocacy/news/veterans-mental-health
Military couple sitting on a couch

After the recent confirmation of Secretary of Veterans Affairs Denis McDonough, APA joined a coalition of more than 20 organizations asking McDonough to take action (PDF, 235KB) to address the unequal treatment of veterans with other-than-honorable discharges within the department. Many of these veterans were separated from military service due to an undiagnosed or untreated mental health condition that was either caused by or exacerbated by their service in the armed forces. 

The letter calls for VA to: 

  • Presume eligibility of all administratively discharged veterans, except those discharged in lieu of court-martial; 
  • Remove regulatory barriers that exclude veterans from VA services based on misconduct that never could have led to a dishonorable discharge; and 
  • Require holistic consideration of compelling circumstances, such as mental health and hardship, in all cases.

This effort follows a regulatory comment (PDF, 338KB) that APA submitted last year, recommending that VA take all relevant compelling circumstances into consideration, especially an undiagnosed or untreated mental or behavioral health condition that may have led to their administrative discharge. 

For more information, please contact Sophie Friedl.