Sarbanes Statement on the Signing of the Clay Hunt Suicide Prevention for American Veterans Act Into Law
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congressman John Sarbanes (D-Md.) today issued the following statement following the enactment of H.R. 203, the Clay Hunt Suicide Prevention for American Veterans Act into law. The bill – passed unanimously in the House and Senate – addresses the increasing number of veteran suicides.
“America’s veterans have made every sacrifice to protect our country. Although we can never fully repay the debt we owe them, it is our duty as a nation to honor our veterans’ sacrifices and to fulfill our commitments to them.
“Today, one of America’s most pressing challenges is how to solve the epidemic of veterans’ suicides – nearly 22 every single day and 8,000 every year – that stem from cases of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and depression. As a nation, we must work together to put forward ideas and solutions that give veterans the help, resources and professional care they need. That’s why the Clay Hunt Suicide Prevention for American Veterans Act is so important.
“The bill – named for a Marine who fought depression and PTSD upon returning from tours in Iraq and Afghanistan, and who took his own life in 2011 – makes important strides in veteran suicide prevention. It will require an independent third party to reevaluate and improve the VA’s mental health and suicide prevention programs. It will also create a pilot program that connects returning soldiers with other veterans to ease the transition from active duty to civilian life. Finally, the bill will create a website that shares mental health resources with veterans and their families.
“The Clay Hunt Suicide Prevention for American Veterans Act is just the first step in our fight to reverse the tragic trend of veteran suicides. I look forward to continuing my work with Congress to address this crucial issue.”