New efforts to reduce military suicide rates
MURFREESBORO, Tenn. (WMOT/TNS) -- Earlier this week the United States Senate passed the "Clay Hunt Suicide Prevention for American Veterans Act." The measure passed the House late last year as lawmakers look for ways to reduce suicide rates in the military.
Nationally, some eight-thousand vets take their own lives each year. In Tennessee, the figure is around 200 a year and growing, says the state's director of suicide prevention, Scott Ridgway.
"So, it's very important that legislation be considered to help support efforts, not only in the nation, but also in statewide approaches and so forth."
The bill requires a review of all V-A programs and practices, along with the creation of a centralized source of information on all of its mental health services for veterans. The legislation also seeks to attract more mental health professionals to the VOA by promising to repay the cost of their student loans.
The Clay Hunt Suicide Prevention for American Veterans Act’s namesake was a Marine veteran who struggled with P-T-S-D and committed suicide in 2011 at the age of 28.