The American Counseling Association is grateful to Sanders for including our LPCs provision in his bill, and we are equally grateful to Sen. Richard M. Burr, R-N.C., for including our section in his amendment to S 1982. There is much concern about the final cost of the bill, but it is vital to draw attention to the LPCs section, which was scored as cost neutral. This means our solution would not cost the American taxpayers a dime. To do nothing would cost our country 22 veterans a day.
With the grim statistics of veteran suicides hanging over our country, it is clear that solutions need to be implemented. Sidelining 40 percent of the nation’s mental-health workforce during a mental-health crisis is a recipe for disaster.
As Sanders works to try his bill again, we urge that our provision is kept intact throughout Congress’ debates. Fully integrating LPCs will not increase the deficit. It will not cost our government any money. It will provide more qualified mental-health professionals to aid veterans in need. It will bring honor back to the way we treat our country’s heroes.
Art Terrazas is director of government affairs for the American Counseling Association.