Supporting the Mental Health of our Veterans

Last Monday, the House passed H.R.203, the Clay Hunt Suicide Prevention for American Veterans Act, by a vote of 403-0. This legislation was named in honor of Marine Cpl. Clay Hunt, who earned a Purple Heart in Iraq before redeploying to Afghanistan. After being diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), Clay sought to help others and raise awareness about depression. Unfortunately, we lost Clay in 2011. He was 28.

A 2012 report released by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) revealed that over the past decade, 18-22 Veterans commit suicide on a daily basis. This legislation is aimed at putting an end to this troubling statistic. The Clay Hunt Suicide Prevention for American Veterans Act will increase access to mental healthcare for veterans by creating a peer support and community outreach pilot program to assist transitioning service members. Additionally, it will boost the accountability of mental health care by requiring an annual evaluation of Department of Defense and the Veterans Affairs Administration’s suicide-prevention practices and programs.

I proudly supported the passage of the Clay Hunt Suicide Prevention for American Veterans Act. The VA has struggled to provide timely access to vital health care services, including mental healthcare. As more and more of our troops are coming home, they face long wait times or little to no support from their VA in regards to mental health care.


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