As of Wednesday, February 4, 2015
WASHINGTON D.C. – Yesterday, Tuesday, U.S. Senator Patty Murray voted to pass the Clay Hunt Suicide Prevention for American Veterans Act.
Murray, a Democrat from Washington, is an original co-sponsor of the bill.
It would require the U.S. Secretary of Veterans Affairs to establish an annual third-party evaluation of the department’s mental health care and suicide prevention programs, promote greater collaboration with community mental health resources, and create a pilot program to attract and retain department psychiatrists.
The bill is also designed to combat veteran suicide by improving the quality of care at VA facilities and creating a strong base for future mental health initiatives.
This bill passes at a time when suicide rates continue to rise among female veterans who use VA care, and the rate of suicide has skyrocketed to 79 per 100,000 among male veterans ages 18 to 24 who use VA services.
“Every day, 22 American veterans die from suicide, so as a country, we simply must do more to ensure the men and women who have served our country get the physical, mental, and emotional support they need when they come home,” said Murray.
The Clay Hunt bill passed the House on Jan. 12. Now after Senate passage, it heads to the President’s desk for his signature.