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June 07, 2024

King Leads Bipartisan Resolution to Establish “Vets Get Outside Day” on June 9th

WASHINGTON, D.C.—U.S. Senator Angus King (I-ME) has introduced a bipartisan resolution to establish “Vets Get Outside Day”—a day to encourage veterans who may be struggling to take a moment or two outdoors as they cope with mental health challenges. The resolution calls on veterans battling post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), traumatic brain injury, depression, anxiety, or other mental health challenges to walk, run, hike, bike ride, or simply spend time outside on June 9, 2024 as part of an effort to improve mental health. This is the second year in a row that Senator King has led the introduction of this resolution.

Nearly 460,000 veterans were diagnosed with traumatic brain injuries between 2020 and 2022, and there were 6,146 veteran deaths in 2020 from suicide. Studies have shown that spending time outdoors in nature can have a positive impact on an individual’s mental health and lessen feelings of isolation. The resolution is also cosponsored by Senators Bill Cassidy (R-LA) and Kevin Cramer (R-ND).

“From beach walks and fishing trips on the coast to a hike in the forest, America’s extraordinary outdoor spaces can bring moments of calm during the most difficult times,” said Senator King. “I hope that ‘Vets Get Outside Day’ will encourage Maine’s veterans to find a relaxing outdoor space that helps them process the stresses and challenges they carry with them. It’s a simple way to promote two of Maine’s greatest treasures — the great outdoors and our brave veterans.”

“We owe it to the men and women who fought for our freedoms around the world to address the veteran suicide crisis,” said Dr. Cassidy. “Vets Get Outside Day ensures that our veterans know there is help available to them.”

“Studies have shown fresh air and nature can be the best treatment for veterans who may be suffering from post-traumatic stress and depression. At the peak of Teddy Roosevelt’s grief and loss, he came to the tranquility of North Dakota’s badlands. This resolution recognizes the positive impact outdoor recreational activities can have on our veterans,” said Senator Cramer. 

Veterans in crisis can dial 9-8-8 and then press 1 to be connected with the Veterans Suicide and Crisis Lifeline.

Representing a state with one of the highest concentrations of veterans, Senator King is a staunch advocate for America’s servicemembers and veterans. A member of the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee, he works to ensure American veterans receive their earned benefits and that the VA is properly implementing various programs such as the PACT Act, the State Veterans Homes Domiciliary Care Flexibility Act, and the John Scott Hannon Act. King has also repeatedly pressed the VA on the need to hire and retain more staff in order to meet the demand for veteran care.  He recently spearheaded the passage of legislation to better track and study servicemember suicides by job assignment. Earlier this year, Senator King held an SVAC field hearing at the University of Maine Augusta to discuss the state of veterans’ long-term care in Maine and other critical issues facing veterans. In a September 2023 hearing, he questioned VA officials in an SVAC hearing to shed light on how financial strain can impact veterans’ mental health. Senator King has also worked to properly honor and recognize the sacrifices of Purple Heart medal recipientsprotect veterans from fraud, and expand veteran assisted living services.

Read the full resolution here.


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