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Sen. Boozman proposes new bill for veteran suicide prevention

According to Boozman, we're “one step closer to paving a new path forward in suicide prevention."

LITTLE ROCK, Ark — Editor's Note: The attached video is President Trump speaking about the PREVENTS Task Force in June, 2020.

Senator John Boozman (R-AR) is calling on the House of Representatives to pass the Commander John Scott Hannon Veterans Mental Health Care Improvement Act.

The bill would bring policy changes to the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to help prevent veteran suicides. The Senator says the bill is meant to reassure America's veterans that their best days are ahead of them.

The Senate recently passed landmark veteran mental health and suicide prevention legislation.

In a speech on the topic, Boozman said we're “one step closer to paving a new path forward in suicide prevention and implementing a new strategy that I believe will give hope and purpose to the men and women who live with these invisible injuries.”

According to a release from Boozman's team, the bill includes provisions from the IMPROVE Well-being for Veterans Act, which was introduced by Boozman and Senator Mark Warner (D-VA). It would create a VA grant program to leverage nonprofits that benefit veterans as well as community networks in order to reduce veteran suicides.

In his speech, Boozman recognized organizations like Sheep Dog Impact Assistance and the Mountain Home chapter of the Disabled American Veterans (DAV) for their efforts in making a difference in veterans' lives.

“It makes sense that we harness the ideas and successes of community advocates into sound policy,” Boozman said.

According to the release, Congress has more than tripled the VA's funding for suicide prevention within the last decade to $222 million. 

Despite the increased funds, the VA still estimates around 20 veterans commit suicide each day. Only six of those veterans are receiving healthcare services at the VA, according to Boozman.

Senators Boozman and Warner encourage the VA to share information with veteran-serving nonprofits in order to monitor progress so that resources can be concentrated on successful programs.

According to the release, President Trump is supportive of the solution outlined in the IMPROVE Well-being for Veterans Act and included the approach in the President’s Roadmap to Empower Veterans and End a National Tragedy of Suicide (PREVENTS) which was rolled out at the White House earlier this summer.