Thank goodness preventing suicides among veterans isn’t a partisan concern.
The Senate on Tuesday passed a bill 99-0 to improve suicide prevention and mental health treatment for people who have served in the U.S. military. The bill also passed the House. Veterans suffer mental health problems because of post-traumatic stress disorder, depression and other military service-related concerns.
The Department of Veterans Affairs reports that the need for intervention is great. Of those who served in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars from 2001 to 2007, “the rate of suicide was greatest the first three years after leaving service.”
Deployed veterans had a 41 percent higher suicide risk compared with the general U.S. population. Non-deployed veterans had a 61 percent higher suicide risk compared with the U.S. population.
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The increased risk of suicide among female veterans when compared with the U.S. female population was higher than that observed when male veterans were compared with the U.S. male population, regardless of deployment status.
The president is expected to sign the new bill.