Rep. Tulsi Gabbard Applauds Clay Hunt Suicide Prevention For American Veterans Act Becoming Law
February 13, 2015
Washington, D.C. – Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard (HI-02) today applauded President Obama for signing the Clay Hunt Suicide Prevention for American Veterans (SAV) Act into law.
“This bipartisan and common-sense law will improve access to quality mental health care for those who have served our country with honor,” said Congresswoman Gabbard. “Our servicemembers selflessly risk their lives to protect our country and keep us safe, and when they return home, they should not be prevented from receiving the care they deserve because of bureaucratic red tape. As an Army National Guard Soldier and veteran, it breaks my heart to know that there is an average of 22 who take their own life, every day. This is a clear indication that the current system is failing our veterans. Today, we are taking one important step forward in improving care for our veterans.”
The Clay Hunt SAV Act aims to help veterans by:
Increasing Access to Mental Health Care and Capacity at VA to Meet Demand
- Requires the VA to create a one-stop, interactive website to serve as a centralized source of information regarding all VA mental health services for veterans.
- Addresses the shortage of mental health care professionals by authorizing the VA to conduct a student loan repayment pilot program aimed at recruiting and retaining psychiatrists.
Improving the Quality of Care and Boosting Accountability at VA
- Requires evaluations of all mental health care and suicide prevention practices and programs at the VA to find out what’s working and what’s not working and make recommendations to improve care.
Developing a Community Support System for Veterans
- Establishes a peer support and community outreach pilot program to assist transitioning servicemembers with accessing VA mental health care services.
- The Clay Hunt SAV Act passed the House of Representatives unanimously on January 12, 2015 and was approved by the Senate on February 3rd, 2015.