Washington, DC — Congressman Jim Himes (CT-4) issued the following statement today after voting for bipartisan legislation to address the epidemic of suicide among our nation’s veterans. The bill, called the Clay Hunt Suicide Prevention for American Veterans (SAV) Act, passed the House of Representatives with strong support.
“Each day, 22 of America’s veterans take their own lives. Unfortunately there is no legislation that will completely stop the tragic epidemic of veteran suicide, but this bipartisan measure is an important step in the right direction. I am proud to support this bill because it will improve the accessibility and effectiveness of mental health care available to our returning heroes,” Himes said.
The Clay Hunt Suicide Prevention for American Veterans (SAV) Act would establish a new peer support and community outreach pilot program for transitioning servicemembers. It would address the shortage of mental health care professionals by authorizing the VA to conduct a student loan repayment pilot program aimed at recruiting and retaining psychiatrists. In addition, the bill would require the VA to create a website with centralized information and resources on mental health services and to conduct yearly, third-party reviews of its related services to form recommendations to improve care.