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BIAA Applauds Inclusion of Jacob Sexton Military Suicide Prevention Act in FY2015 NDAA

28-May-2014

This morning, Brain Injury Association of America (BIAA) Board Chairman Daniel Chamberlain joined Senator Joe Donnelly (D-Ind.) and the parents of Indiana National Guardsman Jacob Sexton on the steps of the Indiana War Memorial. The gathering was held to celebrate the decision by the Senate Armed Services Committee to include the Jacob Sexton Military Suicide Prevention Act of 2014 in the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year 2015.

Sen. Donnelly and Sen. Roger Wicker (R-Miss.) introduced the legislation earlier this month ahead of the Senate Armed Services Committee’s consideration of the NDAA for FY2015. It is named after Indiana National Guardsman Jacob Sexton, who took his own life while home on leave from Afghanistan in 2009, and focuses on improving the identification and treatment of service members who may experience mental health concerns, including:

  • Requiring assessments for all service members—Active, Reserve, and Guard;
  • Establishing a working group between the Department of Defense and Department of Health and Human Services to improve mental health services for the National Guard and Reserve, where service members often rely on civilian health insurance and providers;
  • Requiring an interagency report to evaluate existing military mental health practices and provide recommendations for improvement; and
  • Protecting the privacy of the service members who seek help.

The legislation passed through the committee with bipartisan support and will be taken up by the full Senate later this year.

Speaking from the steps of the War Memorial, Chamberlain said, “On behalf of the Brain Injury Association, I applaud you for introducing this very important legislation, which will ensure that every service member receives a quality mental health assessment every year.”

“BIAA looks forward to the findings in the Department of Defense (DOD) report that will be submitted to Congress with evaluations and recommendations regarding specific tools, processes, and best practices to improve the military’s identification, intervention, and treatment policies and programs in relation to mental health conditions and TBI,” he added.

In addition to BIAA, nine other organizations endorsed the legislation: the National Guard Association of the United States; the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention; the Association of the United States Navy; the Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA); the Military Officers Association of America (MOAA); the Reserve Officers Association; the Resurrecting Lives Foundation; Honor for All; and the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy.

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The Brain Injury Association of America (BIAA) is the country’s oldest and largest nationwide brain injury advocacy organization. Our mission is to advance brain injury prevention, research, treatment, and education, and to improve the quality of life for all individuals impacted by brain injury. Through advocacy, we bring help, hope, and healing to millions of individuals living with brain injury, their families, and the professionals who serve them.


 
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