H.R. 5570 requires a comprehensive review of VA medical records to help mental health professionals identify negative trends and provide recommendations on how to best improve the overall wellbeing of our nation’s servicemembers.
August 24, 2020
The Honorable Peter King
2nd Congressional District of New York
302 Cannon House Office Building
Washington, DC 20515
Dear Congressman King,
On behalf of the 2.2 million members of AMAC – Association of Mature American Citizens, including over 3,499 residing in NY-02, I write to offer our support for H.R. 5570, the Veteran Suicide Prevention Act.
Many AMAC members have selflessly served in America’s armed forces. They relate to us how their service on behalf of our nation represents a significant source of pride for themselves and their families. AMAC is on record as being passionate advocates for the care America’s service members receive when they return home from their duties.
A rising and underreported national epidemic is transpiring in our country with approximately 20 combat veterans taking their own life daily. As a result of their service, many veterans struggle with intrusive reminders of their wartime experience and are subsequently diagnosed with Post-Traumatic Stress (PTS). Numerous studies have estimated that roughly 20 percent of U.S. veterans who served in Iraq and 11 percent who served in Afghanistan suffer from PTS. This invisible wound of war continues to pose significant mental, emotional, psychological, physical, and overall health and wellness challenges to veterans.
H.R. 5570 requires the Department of Veterans’ Affairs (VA) to review all suicides committed by veterans in the last five years. This comprehensive review will include the total number of veteran suicides, prescription medication information veterans took before their passing, number of veterans with combat experience, and information on where veterans sought treatment at VA facilities. This information will help VA mental health professionals identify negative trends and provide recommendations on how to best improve the overall wellbeing of our nation’s servicemembers.
Thank you, Congressman King, and your bipartisan cosponsors for working to provide much needed accountability to the VA and help us understand how to best combat this alarming rise in veteran suicide. As an organization that believes our veterans deserve to confidently receive the best care this country has to offer, AMAC is pleased to offer our full support for H.R. 5570, the Veteran Suicide Prevention Act.
President, AMAC Action