Wicker Supports Bill to Prevent Veteran Suicide

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Roger Wicker, R-Miss., a senior member of the Senate Committee on Armed Services, has voted in favor of the “Clay Hunt Suicide Prevention for American Veterans Act.”

“We have a responsibility to provide our veterans with the best mental health care available as they transition from active-duty service to civilian life. This bipartisan bill takes major steps to improve practices at the VA and Defense Department for veterans and their families. Suicide among veterans remains a major problem, and lowering these troubling rates is an urgent priority.”

Wicker continues to advocate better mental health access for service members and veterans. Last year, he and Sen. Joe Donnelly, D-Ind., introduced the “Jacob Sexton Military Suicide Prevention Act of 2014” to advance efforts in military suicide prevention. This legislation was included in the “National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2015” and signed into law.

The “Clay Hunt Suicide Prevention for American Veterans Act” is named after Clay Hunt, a Marine veteran who committed suicide in 2011. The legislation would create pilot programs to establish support groups for veterans, require annual evaluations of current mental health programs at the VA and Defense Department, and establish a loan repayment program to incentivize more psychiatrists to practice at VA facilities.

The bill passed the House and Senate unanimously and will now be sent to President Obama for his signature.