Harkin, Feingold Introduce Veteran Suicide Tracking Bill

APRIL 23RD, 2008 | Harkin for Senate

The Associated Press reported yesterday the introduction of legislation requiring the Veterans Administration to track veteran suicides.

Currently, the VA record suicides and suicide attempts in VA facilities, but do not track how many veterans commit suicide each year outside of those facilities.

VA records show that the number of veterans who kill themselves in VA facilities increased from 492 in 2000 to 790 in 2007.

A recent report by the Rand Corporation also shows that nearly 300,000 American military personnel returning from Iraq or Afghanistan suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder or depression.

Harkin and Feingold say that puts returning veterans at risk for suicide.

The Veterans Suicide Study Act would require the VA to report to Congress how many veterans committed suicide since 1997. The VA would continue to issue reports annually.

It is a companion bill to legislation introduced by Iowa Congressman Leonard Boswell.

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