Sinema’s bipartisan bill helps the VA teach Arizona veterans how to conduct mental health wellness checks to support their peers
WASHINGTON – Arizona senior Senator Kyrsten Sinema introduced bipartisan legislation that increases mental health awareness for veterans by establishing a “Buddy Check Week,” helping the VA collaborate with partners to train and organize outreach for veterans to learn how to conduct wellness checks on other veterans and educate veterans on support services.
“Creating ‘Buddy Check Week’ increases mental health awareness by emphasizing the importance of wellness checks in supporting Arizona veterans and expanding their network of support,” said Sinema, a member of the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee.
Sinema’s legislation instructs the VA Secretary to designate one week each year as “Buddy Check Week.” During “Buddy Check Week,” the VA would work with Veteran Service Organizations, nonprofits, mental health experts, and other relevant entities to organize outreach events and educate veterans on how to conduct peer wellness checks.
Wellness check trainings would include information on appropriate referrals to resources veterans might need, how to conduct a check, how to train others to conduct checks, how to reach the Veterans Crisis Line, and how to handle a veteran in crisis. The American Legion supports Sinema’s bipartisan legislation.
Last year, Sinema’s Sgt. Daniel Somers Veterans Network of Support Act was signed into law. This Sinema-crafted law requires the VA to pilot a program creating networks of support for servicemembers transitioning to civilian life. The legislation was named after Arizona veteran Sergeant Daniel Somers and was passed through Congress as part of the Veterans Compact Law.