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Guest Edit: VA helps veterans build a solid start to civilian life

Submitted

Mon, Feb 24th 2020 02:15 pm

For first time, VA begins proactively contacting more than 200,000 newly separated veterans each year

Guest Editorial by The Department of Veterans Affairs

Transitioning from military to civilian life can come with many challenges. The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) recognizes how difficult your first year of transition can be and wants to help you navigate these changes. That’s why VA launched Solid Start, a program that connects veterans with direct benefits, as well as resources through partner organizations to help their transition to civilian life.

More than 200,000 service members will transition this year and VA will reach out to each of them three times. While veterans may not have received or expected a call from VA before, VA seeks to provide consistent, caring contact to everyone who transitions.

From help getting a home loan, to health care, to returning to work, to mental health support, VA is your partner. Qualified VA representatives are reaching out to help you better understand the benefits available to you. VA will attempt to contact transitioning service members around 90, 180 and 365 days post-separation. Many of VA’s Solid Start representatives are veterans or dependents of veterans who understand the challenges transitioning can bring first-hand.

VA stands with our nation’s veterans and is committed to ensuring transitioning service members have the tools they need to build healthy civilian lives. The first year after leaving military service is a crucial time and many veterans experience significant stress and pressures when transitioning from service. VA’s goal is to show transitioning service members they have a partner in VA to support them during their transition and beyond, regardless of the challenges they may face.

VA Solid Start also ensures transitioning service members are aware of free mental health resources available to them for up to a year, regardless of their discharge status or service history. Suicide is a national problem that affects service members and veterans greatly, particularly transitioning service members who experience suicide rates approximately two times higher than veterans overall. Solid Start is one of many VA initiatives to help prevent these tragedies and to support veterans with the care and services they deserve.

If you or someone you know is having thoughts of suicide, contact the Veterans Crisis Line at 1-800-273-8255 and press 1; text to 838255; or chat online at www.VeteransCrisisLine.net/Chat. Our representatives are there to provide free, confidential support and crisis intervention 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year.

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