The Fight to Prevent Suicide among our Veterans on Guam U.S.A.
IAPGVP is advocating that the Honorable Thomas C. Ada, chairman of the Veterans Affairs Committee, to introduce the Clay Hunt Suicide Prevention for American Veterans Act (Clay Hunt SAV Act) to be recognized on Guam as Public Law. This historic bill will address the number one mental health issue facing our veterans and service members who reside on the island of Guahan (Guam U.S.A.), and that the bill be recognized as "The Paul Moore Act", in memory of Sgt. Paul Moore, Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF), Afghanistan Veteran.
The Paul Moore Act will in reference the Clay Hunt SAV Act which it seeks to address veteran suicide and improve access to quality mental health care. More than 22 veterans die each day to invisible wounds to suicide. All veterans, but especially those struggling with invisible injuries, should not have to go through red tape to get the mental health care they need and very much deserve.
The Paul Moore Act will change hundreds of lives for the better by providing access to top-quality mental health care both federal and local. It's a matter of life or death. Taking this step to reverse the suicide trend among our Pacific Island Veterans should be a priority, not a political fight. Our veterans deserve action now.
The key to curbing the epidemic of veteran suicides is improving the accessibility and effectiveness of mental health care available to our returning heroes. Over the past seven years, VA's mental health care staff and budget have grown by nearly 40 percent, but the fact remains, veterans are still committing suicide at a frightening pace.
This slow-motion national tragedy is likely to continue as long as the Department of Veterans Affairs sticks to its normal, business-as-usual approach of treating veterans where and how VA wants as opposed to where and how veterans want. The Paul Moore Act will help create a greater accounting of available services and an enhanced community approach to delivering veterans' suicide prevention and mental health care treatment.
Currently there is no inpatient treatment care on Guam from the Veterans Affairs and with The Paul Moore Act it will imply that the Veteran Choice Program would allow the local Guam Behavioral Health and Wellness Center to facilitate a residence program to provide an efficient impatient recovery program for veterans who are diagnose with Post Traumatic Distress Order (PTSD) or a recognize mental illness as a result of a service connection injury or illness. To include access to care at local facilities located at the Guam Department of Public Health & Social Services Northern and Southern Clinics.
We ask that Governor Eddie Baza Calvo, Lt. Governor Ray Tenorio, Congresswomen Madeleine Z. Boradallo, and rest of the 33rd Guam Legislature Senators to join Senator Thomas C. Ada in supporting this critical piece of legislation immediately.
Rodney A. Cruz Jr.,
Founder/President, Iraq Afghanistan and Persian Gulf Veterans of the Pacific (IAPGVP)