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Veterans struggle to find mental health care

The Veterans Administration opened its first primary care and mental health clinic in Portland in 2011.
The Veterans Administration opened its first primary care and mental health clinic in Portland in 2011. Photo: John Ewing / Portland Press Herald via Getty Images

About half of veterans who served in Iraq and Afghanistan aren't getting the mental health care they need, according to a new report from the National Academies of Sciences.

Why this matters: This is a huge problem that's going to be difficult and time-consuming to solve. But the care is crucial: in 2014, veterans' suicide rate was 22% higher than that of non-veterans.

What they found: The reasons for lack of care include the VA's bureaucracy, short-staffed clinics and hospitals, lack of social support and — of all things — parking issues, Bloomberg reports.

The good news, per Bloomberg: "If the VA can better connect patients in need with high-quality mental health care, it could serve as an example for the rest of the country."

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