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Trump orders more mental health care options for veterans

WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 09: U.S. President Donald Trump signs an executive order supporting veterans as they transition from military to civilian life with (L-R)ÊDeputy Director of Plans and Policy for Suicide Prevention Sandra Barnes, Defense Deputy Secretary Patrick Shanahan, Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen and Veterans Affairs Secretary David Shulkin in the Oval Office at the White House January 9, 2018 in Washington, DC. Shulkin emphasized that the executive order will work to help further prevent veterans suicide. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump’s administration is aiming to curb the number of veteran suicides by improving mental health treatment for the high-risk group.

Trump signed an executive order Tuesday directing the secretaries of defense, homeland security and veterans affairs to develop a plan to provide “seamless” access to mental health and suicide prevention resources for 12 months for members leaving the armed forces.

“We want them to get the highest care and the care that they so richly deserve,” Trump said before he signed the order in the Oval Office. “It’s something that is a top priority.”

Veterans Affairs Secretary David Shulkin says an “unacceptable” 20 veterans commit suicide every day.

Shulkin says the first year after returning to civilian life is the period of highest risk for former service members.

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