U.S. Senators Roger Wicker, R-Miss., and Tim Kaine D-Va., members of the Senate Armed Services Committee, today introduced bipartisan legislation that would designate September 30th as National Veterans Suicide Prevention Day. According to reports, overall military suicides have increased by approximately 20 percent compared to this time last year. The senators’ resolution would highlight the treatable invisible wounds sustained by many service members and recognize the families of veterans who have died by suicide. The resolution is also cosponsored by U.S. Senators Jon Tester, D-Mont., and Jerry Moran, R-Kansas.
“Our nation’s veterans deserve our best care and support, including for their mental health and well-being. On National Veterans Suicide Prevention Day, we will raise awareness of this far too common occurrence and recommit to our goal of reducing suicides among our service members,” Wicker said.
“While we must continue working on ways to address this crisis, we must also take the time to recognize the troops we’ve lost and their families,” said Kaine. “I’m hopeful this bill will bring more necessary attention to this issue and offer support and community to more military families who’ve had to endure the tragedy of a veteran suicide.”
According to data released by the Department of Veterans Affairs and the Department of Defense, an average of nearly 20 current or former service members die by suicide each day. Additionally, an estimated 135 individuals are affected by each suicide, including family members, friends, and coworkers.
The resolution is supported by the Tragedy Assistance Program For Survivors, American Counseling Association, American Group Psychotherapy Association, American Association for Psychoanalysis in Clinical Social Work, National Association of Social Workers, American Art Therapy Association, American Association of Suicidology, Eating Disorders Coalition, The Kennedy Forum, American Psychological Association, National Association for Behavioral Healthcare, American Dance Therapy Association, National Alliance on Mental Illness, Association for Behavioral Health and Wellness, Anxiety and Depression Association of America, American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, and the Association for Ambulatory Behavioral Healthcare.
You can read the full text of the resolution here.
Release from Senator Roger Wicker.