Veteran suicide is getting more attention from the federal administration. The President is joining hands with government leaders, lawmakers and others to spotlight the high rate of suicides among veterans in the United States. The President is also soon expected to sign the Clay Hunt Suicide Prevention for American Veterans Act.
The bill is named for Clay Hunt, an American Marine who suffered symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder, after serving in combat duty in Iraq and Afghanistan. After struggling with symptoms of the dreaded psychiatric condition, he committed suicide in 2011.
The bill provides for a pilot program that would help veterans move on from active combat duty to civilian life. The bill would also establish a website that will provide veterans resources to help them deal with symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder and other mental health conditions.
Many veterans returning from combat duty in Iraq and Afghanistan have little access to the kind of medical help that they need for their mental conditions. Many of these veterans are returning with symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder, depression, severe anxiety, manic disorder, and a number of other mental conditions.
Many of these mental conditions go undiagnosed, because of the heavily strained resources of the VA health care system. As a result, many soldiers are slipping between the cracks. The lack of high-quality mental health care and adequate timely care for veterans has also been linked to high suicide rates in the community.
The bill seems like a good step forward in helping deal with the many health issues facing veterans, especially mental health issues. However, more needs to be done to prevent soldiers from slipping through the cracks, and helping veterans get the mental health care that they require at the earliest.