‘No Veteran Left Behind’ bill addresses crisis interventions, mental health and substance abuse

Patatroopers from the 82nd Airborne Division wear masks as they receive pre-deployment instructions on Friday, May 15, 2020. Before leaving Fort Bragg, North Carolina for the Middle East, soldiers are required to quarantine for two weeks to prevent the spread of coronavirus. (AP Photo/Sarah Blake Morgan)

RALEIGH — A bill introduced in the House by Majority Leader John Bell (R-Wayne) would seek to improve services related to mental health and substance abuse for military veterans.

House Bill 370, titled “No Veteran Left Behind,” would establish a pilot program expanding the Veterans Justice Intervention (VJI) program in Brunswick, Craven, Cumberland, Onslow, Union and Wayne counties. The money for the program included in the bill calls for half a million to be appropriated from the N.C. General Fund.

“More than 100,000 active duty service members and over 600,000 veterans call North Carolina home,” said Bell in a press statement. “Our veterans and their families face unique challenges, especially those on active duty. After talking with veteran advocates, law enforcement and local leaders, we believe the No Veteran Left Behind Act will help address an important need in our state by providing local law enforcement with additional training to assist veterans in need.”

Additional sponsors of the bill include Speaker of the House Tim Moore (R-Kings Mountain) as well as Reps. George Cleveland (R-Onslow) and Charlie Miller (R-Brunswick).

The focus of the program includes expansion of training for local law enforcement, local sheriff’s offices and a variety of first responders on veteran-specific crisis intervention and suicide prevention. Those participating in the training will also get better acquainted with resources made available by the Department of Veterans Affairs.

About A.P. Dillon 539 Articles
A.P. Dillon is a North State Journal reporter located near Raleigh, North Carolina. Find her on Twitter: @APDillon_