President Obama Signs Veterans Suicide Prevention Act
After being held up by a single Senator last year, the Clay Hunt Suicide Prevention for American Veterans (SAV) Act passed both houses of Congress unanimously and was signed by President Obama yesterday. Along with veteran service organizations and the military and veteran communities, NAMI supporters rallied to advocate for this significant legislation.
The Clay Hunt SAV Act was named in honor of Clay Hunt a marine who served our country honorably. After serving multiple tours, Clay volunteered in Haiti after the 2010 earthquake. He then focused on helping other veterans, who like himself were dealing with conditions such as posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and depression. Tragically Clay died by suicide in 2011 like the 22 veterans who die by suicide each day.
This law is designed to expand suicide prevention programs at the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) in the following ways:
- Streamline the transition for exiting service members
- Enhance peer support for troubled veterans
- Implement a mandatory annual survey of VA mental health and suicide prevention programs
- Recruit psychiatrists into the VA
Clay dedicated himself to helping others. We hope this law will continue his efforts as an important step in addressing the mental health of our veterans and service members.