SEPTEMBER 28TH, 2007 | ryan.alexander
The Joshua Omvig Suicide Prevention Act that was passed by the House and introduced into the Senate by Senator Tom Harkin was passed late Thursday night after Republican Senator Tom Coburn lifted his hold on the bill. The legislation is named after Iowa native Joshua Omvig who committed suicide after he returned home from serving in Iraq.
The legislation directs the Departmentof Veterans Affiars to develop and implement a comprehensive program to reduce suicides among veterans, make available a 24-hour mental health care for at-risk veterans, and develop education programs for veterans and their families so they can recognize the early-warning signs shown by loved ones who may be considering suicide.
Veterans returning from combat are at a higher-than-average risk for suicide, with data showing that 19% of all suicides in the United States are committed by veterans when veterans only comprise 11% of the population. Furthermore, over two-thirds of those who die by suicide each year were not receiving any mental health treatment before their death, indicating that if more people had access to mental health programs, we could get more people the help they need to prevent suicide.
However, because of a few differences between the House and Senate versions of the legislation, the bill must now go back to the Hose where it will have to be voted on again. After the House passes the new version, the bill will go to President Bush and he it is expected that he will sign it into law.