In October 2020, VA began implementing additional mental health and suicide prevention services to help Veterans and their families lead healthier, more fulfilling lives. The Commander John Scott Hannon Veterans Mental Health Care Improvement Act (the Hannon Act) was inspired by the service of Commander John Scott Hannon, a decorated Veteran who retired after a 23-year career with the Navy SEALs.
Commander Hannon believed in giving back to his community by mentoring at-risk youth, including the Montana chapter of the National Alliance for Mental Illness (NAMI), and local animal rescue and rehabilitation organizations.
Commander Hannon died by suicide on February 25, 2018, at the age of 46.
Expands services to Veterans in remote areas
The Hannon Act builds upon VA’s already strong mental health and suicide prevention efforts and includes grants that will expand community-based suicide prevention and telehealth services to reach Veterans in remote areas.
The comprehensive legislation also plans to ensure all service members transitioning from active duty have access to a full year of support services and programs immediately following discharge from the Armed Forces.
It includes pilot programs that explore alternative treatment and therapy options, such as sports, yoga, meditation, acupuncture and chiropractic care.
VA committed to connecting Veterans to mental health services
To mark the anniversary of signing the Hannon Act into law, VA honors Veterans who have dedicated their lives to serving others. There are many more elements to the Hannon Act that will help improve access to mental health and suicide prevention services at VA facilities and the community.
The efforts of the Hannon Act further expand VA’s public health approach, which focuses both on clinical interventions and community-based prevention strategies to reach all Veterans.
If you are a Veteran – or a Caregiver – VA is committed to connecting you with the mental health and wellness services and support you need. VA has a variety of mental health resources, information, treatment options and more at mentalhealth.va.gov.