February 03, 2015

Manchin Applauds Passage of Clay Hunt Bill to Improve Mental Health Care for Veterans

The Clay Hunt Suicide Prevention for American Veterans Act will offer critical measures to improve mental health care and suicide prevention resources

Washington, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV), an original co-sponsor of The Clay Hunt Suicide Prevention for American Veterans (SAV) Act, applauded the Senate’s passage of this legislation by a vote of 99-0. The bill will improve mental health care and suicide prevention resources for veterans and service members. The legislation has already passed in the House of Representatives and will therefore head to the President’s desk to be signed into law.

The Clay Hunt Suicide Prevention for American Veterans (SAV) Act requires a third-party evaluation of the existing suicide prevention programs at the Department of Defense (DoD) and Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to measure effectiveness and make consolidation, elimination or improvement recommendations. The legislation also supports a new website that will offer veterans information on available mental healthcare services; creates a pilot loan repayment program for VA psychiatrists; and improves the exchange of training, best practices and other resources among the VA, Veteran Service Organizations (VSO) and non-profit mental health organizations to enhance collaboration of suicide prevention efforts.

“As a member of the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee, I am very pleased that one of the first bills the 114th Congress passed will provide additional resources for veterans who suffer from mental health disorders, which may place them at higher risks of suicide,” Senator Manchin said. “It is simply unacceptable that an estimated 22 veterans commit suicide every day. Our veterans deserve better. This bipartisan legislation will help improve and modernize veterans’ suicide prevention programs as well as provide incentives to attract more psychiatrists to treat veterans through the VA.

“We should always set our priorities based on our values, and making sure our veterans receive the best available resources, support, healthcare and benefits must continually be at the top of that list. Our nation has a long way to go to decrease the rate of suicide among our veterans. We can do a lot better when it comes to fulfilling our responsibilities to care for our heroes who have sacrificed so much in order to protect our freedoms and our safety, so it is my sincere hope that the President will sign this bill into law without delay.”