Press Releases

U.S. House Approves Veterans Suicide Prevention Bill

Legislation will improve mental health service for veterans, aims to bring more mental health specialists to VA

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Washington, DC, December 9, 2014 | comments
Jaime Herrera Beutler joined a strong bipartisan majority of the U.S. House of Representatives today in supporting the Suicide Prevention for American Veterans Act.
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Jaime Herrera Beutler joined a strong bipartisan majority of the U.S. House of Representatives today in supporting the Suicide Prevention for American Veterans Act. This legislation that was approved by the House addresses shortcomings in the Veterans Health Administration’s mental health programs for suicide prevention, post-traumatic stress disorder, traumatic brain injury, and sexual trauma. 

FACTS:

·         On average, 22 veterans commit suicide every day. 

·         Between 11-20% of Iraq and Afghanistan veterans have been diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder.

“Far too many Southwest Washington veterans are suffering from mental health challenges stemming from their time in service.  Since it’s clear that they’re not receiving the help they desperately need, this bill is a first step to try and address this shortcoming. Every veteran we tragically lose to suicide is a veteran we have failed,” said Jaime. “This nation owes its veterans access to mental health care that really works, and ongoing support to help them thrive.” 

The bill authorizes improvements to suicide prevention and mental health programs within the VA by:

• Creating a three year pilot program to repay student loans for individuals who commit to practice psychiatric medicine with the VA. This provision is designed to address the shortage of mental health specialists within the VA.
• Creating a pilot program for community oriented veteran peer support networks that can guide individuals transitioning from active duty back to civilian life.
• Requiring the VA and Department of Defense to have an independent third party review their mental health care and suicide prevention programs to strengthen effectiveness and eliminate efforts that are failing to provide adequate intervention.
• Requiring the VA to publish a website that provides veterans with a centralized, single source for information of all the VA’s mental health services.

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Tags: Veterans