Support The Resiliency of Our Nation's Great Veterans Act of 2022 or the STRONG Veterans Act of 2022
This bill addresses mental health care provided by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), including by requiring the VA to update training for the VA workforce and Veterans Crisis Line staff, implement pilot programs, expand access to mental health care, conduct studies and research, and provide outreach to veterans regarding mental health resources.
Among other requirements, the VA must
- ensure its medical centers have at least one full-time minority veteran coordinator and that such coordinators receive training on culturally appropriate mental health and suicide prevention services for American Indian and Alaska Native veterans;
- increase the number of full-time equivalent employees at Vet Centers and paid mental health trainees in the VA's workforce;
- expand specified scholarships and loan repayment programs for mental health providers and students;
- review and update the training for Veterans Crisis Line responders and social service assistants;
- designate a Buddy Check Week to organize outreach events and educate veterans on conducting peer wellness checks;
- update the Veterans Justice Outreach Program, including by conducting program outreach to justice-involved veterans;
- make permanent and expand the Peer Specialist Support program;
- expand eligibility for Vet Center services;
- offer mental health consultations to certain veterans;
- improve the assessment and treatment of veterans with sleep disorders; and
- perform various studies and research related to mental health issues and care.
Additionally, the bill permanently authorizes and expands the Solid Start program.