News Details

Senator Patty Murray: Veteran's suicide prevention bill passes Senate

Source: Examiner
Published: Wednesday 05 December, 2012

On Wednesday, Senator Patty Murray (D-WA) announced that her amendment requiring the Pentagon to establish a standardized suicide prevention program passed the Senate.

The bill will eliminate gaps in care between services and implement changes in the way military personnel reviews suicide prevention programs.

Senator Murray is the Chairman of the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee. She has worked tirelessly for veterans’ rights and for the welfare of their families.

Murray sponsored the bill approved by the Senate on Wednesday as part of the National Defense Authorization Act (S.3254). She crafted the amendment after a major study by the Rand Corporation showed that there have been serious gaps and a lack of consistency in military services’ suicide prevention programs.

Senator Murray’s statement:

"Our service members and veterans have faced unprecedented challenges: multiple deployments; difficulty finding a job here at home; and isolation in their communities. Some have faced tough times reintegrating into family life, with loved ones trying to relate but not knowing how. These are the challenges our service members and veterans know all too well. But even as they turn to us for help, we have been losing the battle. Time and time again, we’ve lost service members and veterans to suicide. Thankfully, this amendment seeks to reduce wait times and improve access to mental health care; ensure proper diagnosis; and achieve true coordination of care and information between the U.S. Departments of Defense and Veterans Affairs. With these effective suicide prevention programs in place, no longer will our nation’s heroes be told ‘sorry, we are too busy to help you.’ I am proud this amendment will give our service members and veterans a medical evaluation system that treats them fairly, gives them the proper diagnosis, and provides access to the mental health care they have earned and deserve.”

The amendment’s passage couldn't come at a more critical time as the number of active duty suicides rose to 166 for 2012, already more than the total number for 2011.

However, the bill, still has to pass the GOP dominated House to become finalized legislation.

Original Article