Dear American Legion Family Members and Friends,

The American Legion is conducting a survey to assess how the pandemic has affected the overall physical and mental well being of veterans. Take the survey now at this link.

The 2021 Mental Health Survey, open through Nov. 28, will keep the identities of participants anonymous. A central objective of this research is to find effective ways to reduce and prevent veteran suicide. After the last two years of social isolation, financial insecurity and loss of life, it is more important than ever to understand what works in this constantly changing landscape.

In 2019, 6,261 veterans were lost to suicide. Compare that sobering number with the 7,057 killed in post-9/11 war operations. However, for the first time in 20 years, we have seen a decrease in veteran suicide. Still just one veteran lost to suicide is too many.

I am calling on you to take the survey (at this link) and encourage your fellow brothers and sisters in arms to also participate. It takes less than 10 minutes to complete the survey. All responses are confidential, and no personal information is collected.

The survey results will be instrumental in The American Legion’s efforts to improve mental health treatment for veterans, reduce the suicide rate, and shape our policy and resolutions on these important issues.

We must act now.

No Veteran Left Behind,

Paul E. Dillard
American Legion National Commander

Buddy Check National Week of Calling

Dear American Legion Family Members and Friends,

There is no better time than right now to encourage your members of Congress to approve The American Legion-supported bipartisan legislation for a Buddy Check National Week of Calling. Here’s how you can contact your representative.

As you know, The American Legion pioneered the Buddy Check concept under Past National Commander Brett Reistad. When we began these wellness checks the intent was for American Legion posts to conduct them twice a year — around American Legion Birthday and Veterans Day.

The initiative demonstrated immediate success. Soon the Buddy Check program transitioned to year round, allowing posts to conduct these whenever it made the most sense on the local level.

And throughout the pandemic, we have seen how important it is to check on our veterans. Posts have used Buddy Checks to help get prescription refills to veterans stuck at home. Others have connected with isolated veterans missing their comrades. In other cases, posts have delivered food, personal protective equipment and other resources to veterans after learning about their needs during a wellness check-in.

The U.S. Senate has approved legislation that would make this a national program. Now, let’s prod the U.S. House to follow suit. If our representatives don’t act before Congress recesses next month, it could be at least three months before they consider this legislation again. Or it could be dropped altogether.

We cannot let this legislation linger in Congress. Follow this link to join me in reaching out to congressional representatives to voice our support for this legislation. With a week dedicated to Buddy Checks across America, we will be able to reach even more veterans and save even more lives.

For God and Country,

Paul E. Dillard
American Legion National Commander