February 03, 2015

Wyden Praises Senate Passage of Bill Helping Veterans At Risk of Suicide

Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., today released the following statement after the Senate unanimously approved the Clay Hunt Suicide Prevention for American Veterans Act:

“I was proud to cosponsor and to vote for this bipartisan bill, which I’m convinced will save lives in Oregon and across the country,” Wyden said. “Today the Senate sent a strong message that more must be done to reach veterans at risk of suicide. Veterans endure physical and emotional trauma in service to our nation and we have a solemn obligation to provide the services and care they need and have earned. With today’s vote, we move closer to realizing that goal.”

Background: The Clay Hunt Suicide Prevention for American Veterans Act is designed to improve a range of suicide prevention services for veterans, including access to information and counseling and by improving training for mental health professionals. The bill also requires annual independent audits of mental health and suicide prevention programs managed by the Department of Veterans Affairs and mechanisms for promoting better collaboration between the VA and non-profit mental health organizations, among other requirements.

The bill is named in honor of Clay Hunt, a Marine who served in Iraq and Afghanistan and who was later diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder. He committed suicide in 2011 at age 28.