On Wednesday, May 28, AFSP Indiana and Ohio Area Director Lisa Brattain joined Senator Donnelly, families who have lost a member of the armed services to suicide, and other organizations for a press conference held at the Indiana War Memorial in Indianapolis, Indiana regarding the Jacob Sexton Military Suicide Prevention Act.
The Senate Armed Services Committee voted last week to include Senator Donnelly’s Jacob Sexton Military Suicide Prevention Act of 2014 as part of the Fiscal Year 2015 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). Donnelly also helped pass several provisions aimed at improving mental health care for servicemembers and their families. The national defense bill, which has been signed into law for 52 straight years, authorizes annual defense programs and spending. The bill received bipartisan support in the Senate Armed Services Committee and will now advance to consideration before the full Senate later this year.
Donnelly said, “This is an important first step. I am pleased to see the Jacob Sexton Military Suicide Prevention Act included in the committee’s final defense bill because addressing military suicide cannot wait. There is no one solution to prevent military suicide, but there are commonsense steps we can take to help our servicemembers before it’s too late. The Sexton Act would start making those changes immediately. I will continue to work nonstop with my friend Senator Roger Wicker and colleagues on both sides of the aisle to see this through to the finish line so that the Sexton Act can be signed into law by the end of this year.”
AFSP was proud to join Senator Donnelly and others in Indianapolis. AFSP has been a long time supporter of the Jacob Sexton Military Suicide Prevention Act and has, along with AFSP's extensive network of Field Advocates, reached out to members of Congress urging them to pass the bill.
Lisa Brattain stated at the press conference, "AFSP thanks Senator Donnelly for his leadership and believes the Jacob Sexton Military Suicide Prevention Act will make great strides in reducing suicide among our nation’s men and women in uniform by establishing a requirement that all service members across all services, all components, must receive a mental health screening at least once annually. By ensuring that our nation’s military personnel are screened and receive timely and adequate mental health care we will reduce suicide among members of our armed services, veterans, and their families."