Governor Pat Quinn of Illinois signed a new bill into law on July 8, 2010, that expands veterans\u2019 services and accessibility to mental health care and coverage within the state. House Bill 6103, which won unanimous support in Illinois\u2019 General Assembly and goes into effect immediately, exempts all Illinois veterans from being charged for services provided by any state mental health facility that are not covered under their own insurance plan. Director Dan Grant of the Illinois Department of Veterans\u2019 Affairs hailed the collaboration of the House and Senate members on their efforts to improve the quality, affordability, and accessibility to much needed mental health services for veterans. Since the start of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, the U.S. Department of Veterans\u2019 Affairs (VA) has been experiencing complications in its efforts to diagnose and treat the influx of servicemembers arriving at their facilities with mental health problems. In recent years, the VA has seen a doubling of cases of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and traumatic brain injury, but lacks the funding, personnel, or housing to properly assist all these servicemembers. Because its medical claims system has become overcrowded and bogged down by strict regulations, many veterans go undiagnosed and untreated for their mental illnesses. As many as 18 veterans a day in the U.S. commit suicide\u2014representing approximately 20% of suicides that take place in the nation. Illinois\u2019 legislation will help alleviate this growing problem among veterans, and coincides with the VA\u2019s mission to adequately serve every military person who has served their country. Upon the bill\u2019s passage, Governor Quinn expressed his state government\u2019s desire to take more responsibility in providing assistance and security to veterans who have bravely served and defended the U.S. Now, any Illinois veteran who receives treatment from a state mental health facility will not be charged for services that are not covered by the veteran\u2019s insurance provider. Currently, veterans who have been diagnosed with PTSD or traumatic brain injury are eligible to receive treatment services through state and federal government agencies. The bill was first proposed by Representative Karen May (D) in February and gained multiple co-sponsors as the legislation made its way through the House Assembly, and also obtained sponsorship by Senator Deanna Demuzio. Passage of the bill amends the state\u2019s existing Mental Health and Disability Code. Veterans returning from combat and in need of health care services are eligible for benefits through their state and federal VA offices. Visit www.veterans.illinois.gov for more information.