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COLUMBIA - Senator Claire McCaskill joined a group of Missouri veterans Wednesday to discuss ways of improving and expanding benefits for returning veterans.

McCaskill said she wants to keep prioritizing veterans and giving them the best especially in the areas of medical care, educational benefits, and mental health services.

"We've not been frankly, as aggressive as we need to be in making sure no soldiers have to ask twice for help with mental problems," McCaskill said.

According to the Veterans Administration, there are currently 505,900 veterans in Missouri and 9,758 veterans in Boone County. In 2011, 1.3 million veterans received mental health services.

There are currently three veteran hospitals in Missouri. These hospitals are located in St. Louis, Columbia, and Kansas City. McCaskill said work is currently in progress to build another veteran hospital in Springfield.

One of the veterans, Sean McLafferty, said he's never had to use the mental health services provided.

"I've heard complaints from a few buddies who need it, but I feel like in the past few years, the response time has improved compared to the past few years... I have not heard any complaints in the past few years or so," said McLafferty.

The veterans present are all a part of 'Veterans for Claire,' a new grassroots coalition of Missouri veterans who support McCaskill because of her contribution pertaining to veteran issues.

Wednesday marked the first public appearance for the McCaskill for Missouri RV, which she'll use to travel around the state over the next six months before Election Day.