Veterans’ health act signed into law; a victory for military veterans and families

"For many veterans, the path towards healing from service-related trauma goes through public lands. Today, that path got a little easier."

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Image Credit: U.S. Veterans Magazine

President Donald Trump signed the Accelerating Veterans Recovery Outdoors Act into law on Sunday. A provision of the Veterans Comprehensive Prevention Access to Care and Treatment Act, it will address healthcare and suicide prevention for veterans.

The passage of the Accelerating Veterans Recovery Outdoors Act (AVRO) was first approved by the House of Representatives on Sept. 23 and then by the Senate in mid November.

“This is a victory for military veterans and families,” Rob Vessels, Military Outdoors campaign manager for Sierra Club, said. “For many veterans, the path towards healing from service-related trauma goes through public lands. Today, that path got a little easier.”

The Accelerating Veterans Recovery Outdoors Act (AVRO) will foster opportunities for collaboration between the Department of Veterans Affairs and public lands agencies to provide outdoor recreation as therapy for veterans.

With numerous outdoor recreation and veterans advocacy groups calling this a victory, research into the effectiveness of outdoor recreation shows “benefits to mental and physical well-being, social function, and outlook on life for veterans recovering from service-related trauma,” according to a press release from Sierra Club.

“We can celebrate our victory today, but our work does not end here,” Vessels said. “The outdoors can be a powerful place for healing and respite, and we have high hopes for the task force’s recommendations. This could not have happened without champions in Congress, and we again thank Rep. Adam Smith, Rep. Roe, Rep. Takano, Sen. Cortez-Masto, and especially Rep. Chris Smith for their support today.”

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