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Senator underscored the importance of strong networks of support for veterans, highlighted her Daniel Somers Veterans Network of Support law and her Military Suicide Prevention in the Twenty First Century Act
WASHINGTON – Arizona senior Senator Kyrsten Sinema shared feedback from her Veterans Advisory Council about the lack of cohesive networks of support that creates challenges for Arizona veterans and what sort of resources Arizona veterans should find in their communities.
“Since coming to the Senate, I have led bipartisan efforts to help servicemembers and veterans build supportive, resilient communities – first, by earning broad support and passing my Sergeant Daniel Somers Veterans Network Act into law, and more recently by introducing the Military Suicide Prevention in the Twenty First Century Act. As we know, networks of support for our veterans are vital to their well-being,” said Sinema, a member of the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee.
The hearing examined startling mental health trends in the veteran community, opportunities to improve mental health services and suicide prevention efforts offered by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), and the implementation of recently-passed mental health and suicide prevention-related legislation.
Sinema questioned VA Executive Director for Suicide Prevention Matthew Miller, PhD, MPH, and Veterans Benefits Administration (VBA) Suicide Prevention Officer Susan Black, DSW, about how to ensure veterans find community after their service. Focused on finding solutions, the Senator asked what more can be done to foster supportive relationships among veterans so they have people to turn to in times of distress.
As a member of the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee and coming from a military family, Sinema remains laser focused on delivering real results for Arizona veterans and their families.
Last Congress, Sinema introduced and successfully passed into law her Sgt. Daniel Somers Network of Support Act, which requires the VA to pilot a program creating networks of support for servicemembers transitioning to civilian life. The legislation was named after Arizona veteran Sergeant Daniel Somers. Sinema also introduced during that Congress the Military Suicide Prevention in the 21st Century Act – bipartisan legislation authorizing a pilot program utilizing innovative technology resources to reduce the risk of suicide among servicemembers.
Earlier this year, she introduced the bipartisan Veterans Health Empowerment, Access, Leadership, and Transparency for our Heroes (HEALTH) Act – legislation making necessary improvements to the VA Community Care program that provide predictability, stability, and certainty to Arizona veterans in need of care.
Sinema’s Veterans Advisory Council was formed to seek feedback from Arizona veterans and strengthen relationships between servicemembers, veterans, their families, and the communities that support them. The Senator’s advisory council includes members with backgrounds in the U.S. Army, Navy, Air Force, and Marines.