Senator Lisa Murkowski has introduced the DoD Suicide Tracking Act of 2014 to fully inform the Pentagon's strategy in responding to the high number of suicides among the military ranks and their family members as the nation attempts to wind down its efforts in Iraq and Afghanistan.
This comes on the heels of Murkowski's co-sponsorship of the Suicide Prevention for America's Veterans Act of 2014 (the SAV Act), an effort to increase access to care for veterans and eliminate red tape making it more difficult for our returning soldiers to receive the treatment they deserve. Working together, the two bills would standardize suicide risk data across the services for veterans, as well as creating new protections for military family members from self-destructive behavior.
"This is a critical moment for our nation's military community, defending our troops and their families from the burden of service that they all bear in different ways," said Murkowski. "Just as important as providing more care and better access to healing opportunities is getting baseline, standardized data detailing all the threats and risks veterans are facing in all the branches of the military, and stepping up our efforts to provide family members the therapy they need."
The DoD Suicide Tracking Act of 2014 would:
Improves consistency in reserve component suicide prevention and resiliency programs: Requires the Secretary of Defense to develop a standard method for collecting, reporting, and assessing suicide data and suicide attempt data involving members of the National Guard and Reserves.
Establishes a DoD suicide prevention program for military dependents: Requires each service to implement programs to track, report and analyze information regarding suicides involving active duty and reserve family members.