Senator Joe Donnelly co-sponsored a resolution designating June 2013 as National Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder Awareness Month. This designation would help increase awareness of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and its associated health risks. The resolution, S. Res. 169, passed the Senate yesterday.
"The first step in addressing the mental health needs of our servicemembers and veterans is to talk about the challenges they face," said Donnelly. "This resolution will bring greater attention to post-traumatic stress disorder and to the resources available to respond to their mental health needs. Our troops have served with honor and distinction, and it is both our challenge and our priority to effectively respond to problems resulting from their military service."
Senator Donnelly joined Sen. Heitkamp and Sen. Boozman to help introduce the bipartisan resolution. It is the first time the Senate has designated a full month for national PTSD awareness. In 2011 and 2012, the Senate passed S. Res. 202 and S. Res. 455, designating one day in June as PTSD Awareness Day.
One of Senator Donnelly's priorities is to improve the mental health resources available to members of the military and veterans in order to better prevent suicide. Donnelly is working to expand and improve upon existing military suicide prevention efforts, as we lost more servicemembers to suicide (349) than in combat in Afghanistan (295) last year. Donnelly is dedicated to working with his colleagues to ensure the psychological needs of servicemembers and veterans are adequately addressed, that they are screened for risk of suicide, and that they have access to resources such as counseling and suicide prevention without fear of negative effects on their career.