Washington, D.C. - The Senate Veterans' Affairs Committee advanced legislation to further expand veterans' access to mental health services Wednesday, the latest effort to reduce the number of veterans that commit suicide.
Right now, twenty veterans take their own lives each day. A statistic that hits close to home for some members of Congress.
"Just this month in Arkansas alone, a veteran of the National Guard, along with two current National Guard members and a member of the Army Reserve, took their own lives. Our approach simply isn't working," said Republican Senator from Arkansas John Boozman.
Over the past decade, Congress has increased funding for mental health and suicide prevention at the VA. But the department says of the 20 veteran suicides each day, most received no treatment or care. That's why lawmakers want to connect veterans with thousands of other organizations available to them.
"It will ensure that no veteran slips through the cracks, " says Democratic Senator from Montana Jon Tester. "It would send an important message not only to the veterans but also to the American public that we can come together during political turbulent times to do what's right."
The new measure now moves to the full Senate for consideration.
If you are a veteran or know one in crisis, there are resources that can connect you to help. The veterans Crisis Line is free and available 24/7 at 1-800-273-8255 and Press 1. You can also text 838255 for assistance.