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Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Call Representatives Today on the Joshua Omvig Suicide Prevention Bill

I posted an ePluribus Media commentary yesterday which brought together a number of recently-returned Iraq and Afghanistan veteran suicides that I'd found while doing my usual research for the PTSD Timeline (the Daily Kos version received quite a few comments from the community).

Someone from the New York Times spent a chunk of time combing over the collected news clips, so they may very well be working on a story. That's good news. More attention on this matter is needed.

Click on 'Article Link' below tags for more...

I generally don't post these types of incidents over here. I don't want this journal to become any more difficult to read for those dealing with PTSD themselves, but I direct your attention now to these cases of suicide for a reason: we need action today from a select number of you. Paul Rieckhoff, executive director of IAVA, has more in a Huffington Post piece:

Luckily, Congress is finally taking action to address the growing problem of suicide among new veterans. The Joshua Omvig Veterans Suicide Prevention Act (S. 479 and HR. 327) mandates a campaign to reduce the stigma of mental health treatment in the military, better suicide prevention training for VA staff, and a 24-hour veterans' suicide counseling line.

The bill is named after Iraq veteran Joshua Omvig, a 22-year-old Army Reservist who served honorably in Iraq, but returned home unable to cope with his memories of the war. Only months after his return from Iraq, he killed himself.

Joshua's parents, Randy and Ellen, are amazing people of incredible courage. They have told their heart-wrenching story and dedicated themselves to helping other young veterans get the counseling that Joshua so desperately needed [please visit Joshua's memorial page]. And you can help Randy and Ellen.

The Joshua Omvig Act is coming before the VA Subcommittee on Health this Thursday. Here is a list of the Representatives on that subcommittee:

Michael Michaud (ME)
Phil Hare (IL)
Jeff Miller (FL)
Vic Snyder (AR)
Cliff Stearns (FL)
Jerry Moran (KS)
Corrine Brown (FL)
Richard Baker (LA)
Michael F. Doyle (PA)
John T. Salazar (CO)
Henry Brown (SC)
Shelley Berkley (NV)

If your representative is this list, please give them a call today and tell them that you support the Joshua Omvig Suicide Prevention Act. Click on their names to find the number to call [or get House phone numbers, sans area codes, here]. It will take just a minute or two of your time, and it will help thousands of new veterans get the care they need, before it's too late.

You might also try 1-800-828-0498 for the Congressional switchboard. More generally, please send a note to your own elected officials in the House and the Senate asking them to support this important bill.

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