Craven County Veteran encourages Veterans struggling with suicidal thoughts to seek free treatment

NEW BERN, N.C. (WITN) – Beginning Tuesday, registered or unregistered Veterans will be eligible for free emergency medical care at any VA or private facility.

The updated care policy includes paying for Veterans’ emergency suicide care treatment and reimbursement for prior payment.

It also covers transportation costs and follow-up care at a VA, or non-VA facility for up to 30 days of inpatient care and 90 days of outpatient care.

The VA already provides emergency suicide prevention treatment, but with the new benefit, Veterans will not have to pay any copays or fees for their care.

If Veterans receive care at a private facility rather than at a VA facility, the federal government will cover the costs.

Veterans in Craven County who had their own bouts with PTSD and suicidal thoughts are reacting to the news.

Marine tanker Veteran Bruce Van Apledoorn says, “When you have suicidal thoughts much like panic attacks they just they just happen, OK? There doesn’t seem to be any rhyme or reason. A Veteran knowing that they can get help there’s no thought about cost but unfortunately, there are a lot of my friends that financially they’re just not very well off so I know every dollar counts.”

The VA says 11 to 20% of veterans suffer from PTSD.

It says on average 16.8 veterans commit suicide every day.

The VA will determine eligibility for other VA services and benefits and make referrals for individuals to other programs following the period of emergency suicide care.