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President signs bill introduced by local lawmaker

The Clay Hunt Suicide Prevention for American Veterans Act has been signed into law by the President.  It was introduced by 5th District Congresswoman Elizabeth Esty and Senator Richard Blumenthal to help veterans struggling with post traumatic stress disorder. 

 

Blumenthal says on average, 22 veterans commit suicide daily, which totals more than 8,000 deaths every year.  In 2014, over 1.4 million veterans with a mental health diagnosis enrolled in Veterans Affairs (VA) health services—an increase of 60% over the past ten years.

 

The Clay Hunt SAV Act seeks to increase access to mental health care and support through the VA health system by:

 

  • Requiring the VA to create a one-stop, interactive website to serve as a centralized source of information regarding all department mental health services.

 

  • Establishing collaborations with the VA and nonprofit mental health organizations to improve suicide prevention resources.

 

  • Authorizing the VA to conduct a student loan repayment pilot program aimed at recruiting and retaining mental health care professionals to address the current shortage.

 

  • Evaluating all VA mental health care and suicide prevention programs on a yearly basis and making recommendations to improve care.

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Todd Schnitt

Local Headlines