Hearings to improve services for veterans with special attention to women and students were held with reference to three pending bills. One (HR 784) will list vacancies for mental health jobs in VA facilities. Another (HR 785) proposes "a pilot program to provide outreach and training to certain college and university mental health centers relating to the mental health of veterans of Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom, and for other purposes. A third bill (HR 1211) "Women Veterans Health Care Improvement Act" requires an outside assessment of services for women.
In 2006 the VA employed fewer psychologists than it had in 1996, resulting in a profound inability to meet needs of returning soldiers boost recruitment. In the past couple of years, 3,900 mental health professionals have been hired but the service gap remains, said Todd Bowers from Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA).
The measures have the support of vet groups including the Disabled American Vets.