The veterans suicide bill, previously blocked by outgoing Republican Senator Tom Coburn, took another positive step forward in Congress yesterday. Lawmakers kept their promise of reintroducing the Clay Hunt Suicide Prevention for American Veterans Act as soon as they were back in session. Supporters say the bill will improve mental health care and suicide prevention resources for military veterans and American service members.
Earlier in the month, the House easily passed the veterans suicide bill. Yesterday, the bill passed with a bipartisan unanimous vote in the U.S. Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee. Next, the bill named after Clay Hunt, a Marine vet who committed suicide in 2011, will go to the full Senate for a vote.
[tweetthis]Great News! Previously Blocked #Veterans #Suicide Bill Advances to Senate.[/tweetthis]
Veterans Suicide Bill Praised as Step Forward
Although the Clay Hunt SAV Act was blocked by Tom Coburn last session, many lawmakers and veterans groups had harsh words for the Senator as there was widespread support for the bill. And as we know, American citizens, service members and military families understand that we must make military suicide prevention a priority. Supporters of this veterans suicide bill praise it as a step in doing just that.
The new Senate Veterans Affairs Committee chairman Sen. Johnny Isakson, R-Ga. understands the importance of this issue. In a news release, he stated, “When you have 8,000 veterans a year committing suicide – which is more veterans than have died in all of Iraq and all of Afghanistan since we’ve been fighting – then you have a serious problem and this is emergency legislation that we need to pass to help our veterans.”
As reported by Michigan Live, The passing of the bill also drew praise from Dr. Saul Levin – the medical director of the American Psychiatric Association.
Levin stated, “That’s wonderful news for our veterans and for psychiatry and mental health and mental illness treatment. The military and the veterans protect our country and have fought for our country. We need to give them the services (needed) around mental health.”
Let’s hope the next step for this veterans suicide bill is becoming a law.