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BIAA Endorses Donnelly-Wicker Bipartisan Military Suicide Prevention Legislation

14-May-2014 The Brain Injury Association of America (BIAA) has endorsed the bipartisan Jacob Sexton Military Suicide Prevention Act of 2014.

Sen. Joe Donnelly (D-IN) and Sen. Roger Wicker (R-MS) introduced the legislation last week ahead of the Senate Armed Services Committee’s consideration of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year 2015. Donnelly and Wicker will push for passage of the act as part of this year’s NDAA.

“As a nation we have to understand what it takes to be a warrior,” said BIAA President and CEO Susan Connors. “We ask young men and women to devote themselves to duty, honor our democratic ideals, and sacrifice their safety to protect our freedoms. In turn, we must be prepared to care for them in war and in peace. The Brain Injury Association of America applauds Sen. Donnelly and Sen. Wicker for taking positive action to ensure access to the best mental health care possible.”

The legislation 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.

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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