WASHINGTON – Arizona senior Senator Kyrsten Sinema met with Dr. Barbara Van Dahlen, Executive Director of the President’s Roadmap to Empower Veterans and End the National Tragedy of Suicide (PREVENTS), and discussed their goal of combatting veteran suicide. Sinema spoke about her work on her bipartisan Network of Support Act with the parents of Sgt. Daniel Somers.
“Americans returning home from serving our nation must have our full support. We’re ensuring all veterans have access to the care they need and the resources they’ve earned,” said Sinema, a member of the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee.
Sinema 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 month. 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.
Sinema is now working with VA Secretary Wilkie to expand the Network of Support concept to the Department of Veterans Affairs.
Sinema has worked with Sgt. Somers’ parents, Howard and Jean, for more than 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. Sinema spoke about her work with the Somers family during her maiden Senate floor speech in July.