Senator Scott Statement on Passage of Bipartisan Veterans Suicide Prevention Legislation

Washington – U.S. Senator Tim Scott (R-SC) released the statement below following Senate passage of the Clay Hunt Suicide Prevention for American Veterans Act, which now heads to the White House to be signed by President Obama.
“I was proud to join my Senate colleagues in voting for today’s important legislation to help improve mental health services for our nation’s veterans.
We must support those who defend us, and the Clay Hunt Suicide Prevention for American Veterans Act does so by improving programs at the Veterans Health Administration, aiding veterans in their transition to civilian life, and increasing access to health care for our veterans. I will continue working to ensure we keep our nation’s promises to our veterans, and look forward to the President signing this important legislation into law.”
The legislation, authored by Senators John McCain (R-AZ), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Richard Burr (R-NC), and Johnny Isakson (R-GA), would require a third-party evaluation of existing suicide prevention programs at the Department of Defense and Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to gauge their effectiveness and make recommendations for consolidation, elimination, or improvement. It would also provide for a new website that offers veterans information regarding available mental health care services; create a pilot loan repayment program for VA psychiatrists; improve the exchange of training, best practices, and other resources among the VA and non-profit mental health organizations to enhance collaboration of suicide prevention efforts; create a community outreach pilot program to help veterans transition from active duty service; and extend the ability for certain combat veterans to enroll in the Veterans Health Administration for one year.