Senate Takes Up Bill to Lower Suicide Rate Among Veterans

Veterans Health
Posted at 8:09 AM, Feb 02, 2015
and last updated 2015-02-02 08:09:00-05

WASHINGTON (AP) - A bill aimed at reducing a suicide epidemic among military veterans appears headed to the president's desk.

The Senate is expected to take up a bill Monday named for Clay Hunt, a 26-year-old veteran who killed himself in 2011. The bill is aimed at reducing a wave of suicides that claims the lives of 22 veterans every day.

The House passed the measure last month. It would require the Pentagon and Veterans Affairs Department to submit to independent reviews of their suicide prevention programs and offer financial incentives to psychiatrists and other mental health professionals who go to work for the VA.

Republican Sen. Johnny Isakson of Georgia, chairman of the Senate Veterans' Affairs Committee, called the bill an important step to improve veterans' access to mental health resources.