We are going to make sure the Senate gets it right this time. House Resolution 203 (the nomenclature for the Clay Hunt SAV Act in the Senate) is in committee right now. The Veterans Affairs committee is headed by Sen. Johnny Isakson of Georgia. After talking to a member of his staff, I found out H.R. 203 will come up for vote on the Senate floor probably some time this week, although they couldn't give me a definitive day. That's fine with me, it just means I get to call them every single day! Once again, out-freaking-standing! Using this Senate contact list any of my readers should be able to find their Senators' phone number and/or email address and contact them to let them know "We the People" want this passed.
Now, normally, a Joe (a member of the U.S. Military, I'm not trying to be sexist or anything) doesn't really get too much intel on what it is they are doing. As long as it's a lawful order, an enlisted man or woman usually does it. But this is what the Clay Hunt Suicide Prevention for American Veterans Act means:
- Directs the Secretary of the VA to conduct an at least annual evaluation of mental health and suicide prevention programs in the VA. This evaluation would be done by an objective "third party".
- Provide funds to make a centralized "one click" resource on the internet detailing all of the mental health care programs available to Veterans.
- A loan repayment program for certain psychiatrists in the VA. This is a pilot program and the selected psychiatrists would have to stay with the VA for a certain period of time to participate.
- A program to help Veterans that are transitioning from active duty to civilian life and to help improve access for Veterans to mental health programs.
- The Secretary would also be able to collaborate more effectively with non profit, non governmental (meaning in no way shape or form a VA entity) mental health groups. This would more effectively help the groups and the VA work on the same level.
- Extends eligibility for military members who were discharged for released between 2009-2011and did not enroll in VA care programs.
A summary of H.R. 203 can be found here.So that is it, in a nutshell. Please call/email your senators and let them know that this bill needs to be passed. Currently, on average, 22 Veterans commit suicide everyday. If these Veterans had the name recognition like Peyton Manning or Derek Jeter or Brad Pitt or Angelina Jolie it would be national news. The outcry from the public would be huge. Look at the suicide of Robin Williams. Any suicide is tragic. It's a loss that is catastrophic. But no one knows the names of the Veterans who commit suicide. Except their friends and family. the military and Veterans are the true 1%. The 1% who has, at one point in time or another, written a blank check for this country. Some have signed that check in their own blood. We have to make sure that, once they return home, that "life" check is cashed only when "natural causes" or "old age" can be written on the back with the signatures of a grateful country.
Please join me for a twitter storm on Wednesday from 8-9 pm. Please feel free to mention your senator's twitter account. Use #ClayHunt and #VeteransLivesMatter. We need to get the word out and make sure this bill winds up on the President's desk.
That is all.
An organization is putting in a Veterans Memorial and a much needed flag pole in a park that is by my house. They have an idea of having bricks with the names of Veterans, living or deceased, (or any patriotic message you wish) to lead the way from the park's entrance sidewalk to the memorial. It is a fund raiser to help secure the money for the memorial. I am asking that, if you can, please check out the Veterans Memorial page on my blogsite and buy a brick to help support this cause. Thank you.