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Public Statements

Veterans Suicide Prevention Month

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC

Mr. BENISHEK. Mr. Speaker, America has a veteran suicide epidemic. Bearing the stresses of wartime demands, today more of our nation's heroes are taking their own lives than are killed overseas. We must do more to be there for our servicemembers when they return home and help them transition to civilian life. I am pleased that the Department of Veterans Affairs has recognized September as Suicide Prevention Month and will undertake an outreach campaign to raise awareness of the VA mental health services available to veterans. This month and beyond the agency will educate communities, health care providers, friends and family members about recognizing suicide risk and the resources available to help our loved ones.

As a former VA doctor in Michigan's Upper Peninsula and a Member of the House Committee on Veterans' Affairs, I know that the challenges of military life do not end once our servicemembers retire from active duty. Physical and invisible wounds can last a lifetime, and the mental health and well-being of these brave men and women must remain the highest priority for this country. Community organizations, Veteran Service Organizations, family and friends must continue to familiarize themselves with the signs of a veteran in crisis and learn where to turn for support. Congress and the VA must redouble their efforts to ensure there is always someone on the other end of the line to help a veteran or family member in need. Everyone can help fight this epidemic, and be there for those that were there for us. I encourage my colleagues to redouble their efforts to raise awareness of this very serious epidemic, and thank all those who have served our country for their immeasurable service and sacrifice.

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