Veterans advocates say there’s momentum in the battle against suicide with several bills pending in Congress, including one influenced by a grieving family in Coronado.

The legislation, which applies to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, addresses the higher suicide rate among female veterans and the mental health care needs of vets privy to classified material.

On the first anniversary of a landmark law focusing on suicide among post-9/11 troops, the group Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America said it sees willingness in Washington, D.C., to change the VA — especially after recent national scandals over medical wait times and a backlog of disability claims.

“When I first started working on Capitol Hill on veterans issues 20 years ago, you didn’t have anywhere near the amount of interest and passion that you do now,” said Thomas Porter, legislative director of the Iraq and Afghanistan veterans organization.

His group put its muscle behind the Clay Hunt Suicide Prevention for American Veterans Act, signed in February 2015. The bill launched a pilot program to attract more psychiatrists to the VA. It also directed creation of a one-stop resources website and an annual evaluation of VA mental health and suicide-prevention programs.

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2 thoughts on “Congress considers veteran suicide bills

  1. Thank you for your comment. I’d also like to thank you for your honesty. My generation are the children of Vietnam veterans. Like yourself, my father didn’t have to go. I guess it was a stroke of luck that he fell asleep behind the wheel and ended up in a body cast around the time his number was called in the lottery. (I don’t think he had the same “regrets” you described, he was happy he didn’t go).
    My childhood friends had fathers that served, I was at a sleep over the first time I witnessed what war does to a man long after leaving battlefield. Since that night (3 am), our veterans have had a corner of my heart. I’m in right place here, I feel it. It’s encouraging when others see it too, so thank you.


  2. Thank you for your desire to help the vet’s of America. I never served, at the time Vietnam was just wrapping up and I didn’t want to join. Something I regret to this day. But I always felt that our vet’s were under served and not given the care they needed when returning from a war zone. I give to a few charities in my time, they are either medical in nature or geared towards the American Veterans. I give what I can, being on disability I don’t have much to give. But I feel that the vet’s gave a heck of a lot more than this man did sitting at home. I was prepared to join the submarine service with a four year commitment with all types of guarantees promised. But taking the contract home to look it over just wasn’t in their vocabulary, and that’s why I never signed up. Because I scored so high in the testing, they took me off to the side and introduced me to the commander who took over trying to get me to sign. But promises are just that and nothing more if you can’t see it in writing. I ended up going home, but they bugged me for a month trying to get me to go back down to sign up. Think I would of enjoyed it. To this day I wonder what my life would be like if I had signed. All veterans have my thanks and respect for all they sacrificed along with their friends and family. To all active duty service members, keep your head down and stay safe. Thanks for all you do. To all veterans, thanks for everything you have given to this nation. No thanks could ever balance between what you have given of your life and our giving thanks.

    Ana, thanks again for your commitment to helping the returning veterans and their families. You rock!

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