One percent of the U. S. population has served in the armed forces, yet veterans suicides account for 20 percent of all suicides in the United States.The DOD task force final report (2010) stated from 2005-2009 more than 1,100 service members committed suicide. This is an average of one service member committing suicide every 36 hours. Approximately 950 veterans, RECEIVING services from the Veterans Health Admiration (VHA), attempt suicide each month. Meaning roughly 32 veterans attempt suicide EACH DAY.
We should be outraged by these numbers. These are men and women who sacrifice their families, health, and lives for our safety and protection. Something more MUST be done. This petition is a way to call Congress to hold a hearing and vote on H.R. 26.
What is H.R. 26 you might ask?
H.R. 26 Veteran Mental Health and Screening act that asks the Secretary of Defense to require mandatory “face-to-face and confidential mental health and traumatic brain injury screening” for all members of the Armed Forces 90 days after they complete a deployment and continue to offer screening services until 180 days after the deployment (H.R. 26, 2011).
The bill proposes that EACH service member submit to a mandatory screening to assess the risk of suicide. It is the hope that the screening will give the service members a chance to be truthful about their feelings and experiences, thus creating a smoother post deployment transition, alleviate some of the embarrassment or false ideas about mental illness especially depression within the armed forces, and lower the suicide rate within the ranks of those returning from Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom.
The bill is currently in the House of Representatives but there has been no movement since it was introduced in January 2011. The petition is a call to have Congress hold a hearing and put the bill to a vote.
Signing this petition is a way of showing Congress we will no longer accept that suicide is a normal part of serving in the armed forces. It is DEMANDING that they do more to help those that have put everything on the line for us. It is the least we can do to help those who have already given so much to help us!!