Assemblyman Sam Fiocchi, who sponsors New Jersey bill AR-214, urging President Obama to sign the Clay Hunt Suicide Prevention for American Veterans Act, was pleased to learn the bill was signed into law today. President Obama signed H.R. 5059 in the White House on Thursday afternoon.
The legislation, named after a 28-year-old Marine Corps veteran who took his life in 2011, after serving in Iraq and Afghanistan, calls for external audits of suicide prevention programs in the Veterans Affairs Department (VA) to determine treatment and programs that are successful. The bill creates a centralized website detailing mental healthcare services available from the VA. More than 8,000 veterans commit suicide every year, according to VA estimates.
“The death of Clay Hunt is tragic because it could have been prevented,” said Fiocchi, R-Cumberland, Cape May and Atlantic. “Like so many other soldiers, this young man returned from war psychologically wounded. He proactively sought treatment, but his government failed him. Mr. Hunt’s story reflects the urgency in addressing the many issues our injured armed services members face. I am pleased the commander-in-chief of the United States signed into law a program that addresses Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. This is an illness we cannot ignore and those who served our country deserve treatment to deal with this illness.”