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Mr. BACA. Madam Chair, I rise in support of my amendment, No. 9, to H.R. 1540. I would like to thank Chairman Buck McKeon, Ranking Member Adam Smith, and the staff for their hard work in adding my Baca amendment to the series.
As a Vietnam veteran, I am very upset with witnessing the alarming rates of suicide amongst our military ranks. In my visit to Walter Reed, I had an opportunity to speak firsthand to many of the soldiers suffering from posttraumatic stress disorder. My amendment enhances the suicide prevention program at the Department of Defense by specifically requiring that each branch of the military include suicide prevention training during recruit training, and pre-separation counseling.
Each suicide prevention training run by the various military services shall include at a minimum: methods for recognizing risk factors for suicide; protocols for responding to crisis situations involving members who may be at high risk; information about suicide prevention services available to members, including a toll free hotline, Internet service; and information for best practices for suicide prevention.
This amendment is strongly supported by the Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America and the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention.
I urge my colleagues to vote for this amendment so that it will hopefully reduce the number of military suicides.
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