May 16, 2024

Cassidy, King, Cramer, Graves, Moulton, Amo Introduce Resolution to Establish “Vets Get Outside Day” to Combat Veteran PTSD, Depression

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Bill Cassidy, M.D. (R-LA), Angus King (I-ME), and Kevin Cramer (R-ND) introduced a resolution to establish “Vets Get Outside Day” to support veterans struggling with mental health challenges. Nearly 460,000 veterans were diagnosed with traumatic brain injuries between 2020 and 2022, and there were 6,146 veteran suicide deaths in 2020. U.S. Representatives Garret Graves (R-LA-06), Seth Moulton (D-MA-06), and Gabe Amo (D-RI-01) also introduced the resolution in the U.S. House of Representatives.

“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.”

“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.”

“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 Get Outside Day is all about encouraging our Veterans to explore the great outdoors among their peers and community members – whether that’s hiking, biking, hunting, or casting lines for a big catch,” said Representative Graves. “Studies consistently highlight the incredible benefits of nature on our well-being, from reducing stress levels to advancing our mental agility. I’m proud to champion this resolution for the second year in a row with Congressman Moulton and Senators Cassidy and King, and I’m excited to be adding Congressman Amo. Our Veterans deserve support every step of the way.”

“Veterans have sacrificed so much for our country, and many face unique, lifelong health challenges as a result of their service. As a Marine veteran, I know firsthand how healing simply spending time outdoors can be. The moments where I can go on a long run or spend time on the water are sacred,” said Representative Moulton. “I’m proud to partner with my House and Senate colleagues to designate Vets Get Outside Day. This is a great way to remind every veteran to do something healing for themselves; and it’s another important step toward destigmatizing the national conversation around mental health. We are all in this together, and together we can build a community that leads the way on changing how we talk about mental health.”

“In Rhode Island, we are blessed to have a proud community of veterans and a wide range of options to enjoy the great outdoors — including a National Historical Park in our First Congressional District,” said Representative Amo. “I am proud to join my colleagues in this bipartisan effort to designate June 9th, 2024, as Veterans Get Outside Day to promote healing and health for those readjusting to civilian life after bravely serving our country in uniform. Spending time outdoors has been proven to help those struggling with their mental health, which is why I am glad we provide our veterans with free admission to our national parks and forests.”

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

Read the full resolution here.


This is the second year that Cassidy has led the introduction of “Vets Get Outside Day.” In September, Cassidy grilled the Executive Director for Suicide Prevention at the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), Matthew Miller, after an Office of Inspector General (OIG) report found that a 2021 veteran suicide was improperly handled.

In 2022, the Senate unanimously passed Cassidy’s Solid Start Act to strengthen the Department of Veterans Affairs’ (VA) Solid Start program to contact every veteran three times by phone in the first year after they leave active duty. The program helps connect veterans with VA programs and benefits, including mental health resources.

Cassidy also introduced the Mental Health Reform Reauthorization Act of 2022 to reauthorize and improve Cassidy’s historic 2016 mental health reform package.