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House Approves Mental Health Assistance for Veterans

On March 21, the House approved, 423-0, legislation (H.R. 327) that would establish a comprehensive program to reduce suicide among veterans. The measure would increase mental health care services for veterans and provide research on mental health care for veterans who have experienced sexual trauma while serving in the military. The House Veterans’ Affairs Committee approved the bill on March 15 (see The Source , 3/16/07).

Rep. Grace Napolitano (D-CA) stated, “This is about the two marines gathered at a muster in Long Beach just recently who were diagnosed on the spot with suicidal tendencies and were hospitalized immediately. This is about our local VFW [Veterans of Foreign Wars] seeing more and more young people seeking to get services for their mental well-being. This is also about our families becoming aware of signs to look for and where to find treatment. This is about providing the funding to help heal the mental wounds so that our warriors believe it is better to remain alive and not dead. What is more critical and more important? I urge my colleagues to vote in support of [H.R.] 327.”

Rep. Tim Murphy (R-PA) noted, “We have to give hope to those with mental illness. For those who have seen significant problems in their life, some remain mired in those problems and remain victims and do not move forward. We can help them. There are some who are able to survive despite their problems and move forward and flourish and work. And there are others who thrive with their problems and turn these into a source of inner strength. There is a great deal of hope and compassion that we can bring to our soldiers. This bill is a wonderful mechanism to bring that. I applaud all those who helped on it, and I look forward to its passage.”

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