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New Law Aimed at Preventing Female Veteran Suicides

Suicide prevention

On June 30, President Obama signed the Female Veteran Suicide Prevention Act into law.

The law, which was introduced by Senators Joni Ernst (R-IA), Barbara Boxer (D-CA), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Sherrod Brown (D-OH) and Congresswoman Julia Brownley (D-CA), was cosponsored by 18 Democrats and 5 Republicans, and passed both houses of Congress without exception.

VA researchers have found that suicides among women veterans increased by 40 percent from 2000 to 2010, and that women veterans were nearly six times as likely as non-veteran women to commit suicide. This law directs the VA to identify mental health care and suicide prevention programs that are most effective and have the highest satisfaction rates for women veterans. These findings will be reported back to Congress and used to develop mental health treatment programs that are best tailored to assist at-risk individuals, be they male or female.

The VA is already required to conduct annual evaluations of its suicide prevention and mental health programs under the Clay Hunt Suicide Prevention for American Veterans Act. The Female Veteran Suicide Prevention Act will require the VA to produce separate data and statistics on female veterans and tailor their treatment programs accordingly.

Senator Blumenthal, (D-CT) said in a statement that. "This measure will help address the staggering rate of suicide among female veterans by ensuring that VA's mental health and suicide prevention programs meet the gender-specific needs of our nation's women veterans."

 

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