WASHINGTON – Arizona senior Senator Kyrsten Sinema spoke at a Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee hearing on preventing veteran suicide. Sinema discussed legislation she included in this year’s defense bill that engages the civilian community around our servicemembers by requiring the Department of Defense to collect from new servicemembers the names and contact information of loved ones they consider to be members of their network of support.
“The SGT Daniel Somers Network of Support Act requires the Department of Defense to collect from new servicemembers the names and contact information of loved ones they consider to be members of their network of support. Members of this network of support are often the first line of defense in preventing suicide and are the best people to reach veterans during difficult times,” said Sinema.
Sinema’s Sgt. Daniel Somers Network of Support Act is named after Arizona Army veteran Daniel Somers who lost his life to suicide. Sinema has worked with SGT Somers’ parents, Howard and Jean, for over five years to ensure all veterans get the care and support they need. In the U.S. House, Sinema introduced and successfully passed the Sgt. Daniel Somers Access to Care Act, which ensures veterans who worked in classified jobs can receive behavioral health services in an appropriate care setting. During the hearing, Sinema received commitment from VA Secretary Wilkie that he will work with her office to develop and expand the Network of Support program.
In the U.S. House Sinema also cosponsored the Clay Hunt Suicide Prevention for America’s Veterans Act, which was signed into law in 2015.