Congressman Dan Kildee Celebrates Signing of Bipartisan Bill Aimed at Reducing Veteran Suicides
Congressman Dan Kildee (MI-05) today applauded President Obama's signing of the Clay Hunt Suicide Prevention for American Veterans Act (Clay Hunt SAV Act) into law. This bipartisan legislation -- which passed both the House and Senate unanimously -- seeks to curb the rate of suicide among returning service members.
"I am glad to see the Clay Hunt Suicide Prevention for American Veterans Act signed into law today. I strongly supported this legislation in Congress to make it easier for veterans to get the health care they need when they return home," Congressman Kildee said. "Unfortunately, many service members are returning home with invisible wounds of war, including post-traumatic stress disorder. This bill, now law, will help to ensure that our veterans have access to the mental health care services they need."
Of the more than two million Americans who have served in Iraq and Afghanistan in combat roles, roughly a third have had a traumatic brain injury or suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder or depression -- roughly 600,000 veterans. On average, 22 veterans take their own lives each day.
The Clay Hunt SAV Act is named after Marine Corporal Clay Hunt, an Iraq and Afghanistan War veteran who was awarded the Purple Heart after being shot by a sniper's bullet. In March 2011, Corporal Hunt took his own life. The new law will address inefficiencies in the Department of Veterans' Affairs and expand resources specifically for veterans suffering from mental illness by centralizing mental health resources online, recruiting additional mental health professionals and mandating an annual third-party evaluation of all mental care and suicide prevention practices.
Congressman Kildee has been a strong champion of the Clay Hunt SAV Act. In addition to voting for the bill in both the 113th and 114th Congresses, he also cosponsored the bill in the 113th Congress.