Sinema-Backed Bipartisan Bill Increases Resources to Prevent Veteran Suicide

Nov 15, 2019

WASHINGTON – Arizona senior Senator Kyrsten Sinema cosponsored the bipartisan IMPROVE Well-Being for Veterans Act, which prevents suicide among veterans by allowing the Department of Veterans Affairs to conduct greater outreach through veteran serving community organizations.

“Suicide among our veterans and servicemembers is a national crisis. Strengthening resources and encouraging greater collaboration between the VA and community organizations supporting veterans and their families will help ensure all veterans get the care and support they’ve earned,” said Sinema, a member of the Veterans’ Affairs Committee who has long championed suicide-prevention policies.

The IMPROVE Well-Being for Veterans Act, sponsored by Senator John Boozman (R-AR) and Senator Mark Warner (D-VA), creates a new grant program that allows the VA to assist veteran service organizations in their veteran suicide prevention efforts.

Sinema has long been a champion for Arizona veterans and servicemembers. Sinema cosponsored the bipartisan Support for Suicide Prevention Coordinators Act, which helps improve the Department of Veterans Affairs’ suicide prevention efforts and the bipartisan Accelerating Veterans Recovery Outdoors Act to establish a taskforce equipped to expand access to public lands for the rehabilitation and therapy of veterans and identify existing barriers that prevent veterans from utilizing outdoor recreation for medical treatment.

Sinema also recently secured her bipartisan Sgt. Daniel Somers Network of Support Act in the Senate-passed version of the defense bill, and the U.S. House included the legislation in its version of the bill earlier this year. The legislation was inspired by Sgt. Daniel Somers, an Arizona Army veteran who served two tours in Iraq and was diagnosed with traumatic brain injuries and PTSD upon returning home. He lost his life to suicide in 2013. The bill requires that the Department of Defense work with the Red Cross to collect from new servicemembers the names of loved ones they consider to be their network of support. In return, the Department of Defense and Red Cross will provide the network of support information about the benefits and services available to military members.

Earlier this year, Sinema’s LEGION Act, which extends American Legion membership to honorably discharged veterans since World War II, and her Protecting Affordable Mortgages for Veterans Act, which safeguards veterans from predatory loan practices and helps them more easily access their earned homeowner benefits, became law.

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