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Thursday, August 03, 2006

Iowa Sens Support Vet Suicide Prevention Bill

From the Des Moines Register:

"Iowa's senators teamed up today to introduce a bill that would require the federal government develop a better program to prevent suicides among veterans returning from Iraq.

Sen. Tom Harkin, a Democrat, and Sen. Charles Grassley, a Republican, said too many tragic stories are cropping up of veterans who come home only to deal with continued anguish over their service. 'Veterans don't simply have physical ailments--often they are struggling mentally,' said Grassley. Harkin said that 'the stress our servicemen and women endure in combat is enormous and can trigger severe mental health issues after they have returned home.'

Under the legislation, the Department of Veterans Affairs would be required to provide suicide prevention education for staff members, ensure 24-hour access to mental health care for veterans deemed at risk of suicide and create a family education program, aides said.

The bill is named for Joshua Omvig of Grundy Center. Omvig, 22, suffered from untreated post-traumatic stress disorder following an 11-month tour of duty in Iraq."

The House version of the Joshua Omvig Suicide Prevention Act was introduced by Iowa Rep. Leonard Boswell.

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