SPRINGFIELD, Mo. – Data from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs shows the veteran suicide rate in Missouri is significantly higher than the national rate. 

In an effort to decrease those numbers, military veterans can now get free emergency mental health care if they are in a suicidal crisis.

The VA said whether a veteran is enrolled in the VA system or not, veterans can receive the care.

“Veterans in suicidal crisis can now receive the free, world-class emergency health care they deserve — no matter where they need it, when they need it, or whether they’re enrolled in VA care,” VA Secretary Denis McDonough said in a statement. “This expansion of care will save Veterans’ lives, and there’s nothing more important than that.”

For one local woman, Kathy Davis, she said the news is a long time coming.

Davis lost her veteran son to suicide.

“He was a Marine veteran,” said Davis. “He was medically retired. Eight months after he came home, he took his life.”

Since his death, Davis said she has made it her mission to make it easier for veterans to get the help they need.

She said she’s glad to see progress is being made.

“I don’t ever want anybody to go through what our family has gone through,” said Davis. “As I talk to veterans in crisis, that was what was keeping them from getting help is that they couldn’t afford it, or they couldn’t afford to go get the help and take time off work.”

For more information, click here. https://www.va.gov/opa/pressrel/pressrelease.cfm?id=5852