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Public Statements

Mental Health Assessments

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC

Mr. THOMPSON of Pennsylvania. Mr. Speaker, today the House will be voting on the National Defense Authorization Act, known as the NDAA. The NDAA's purpose is to ensure that our brave sons and daughters who serve this country will have what they need to be trained and resourced to do their jobs effectively and safely.

This authorization is one of the few policy matters in Washington not viewed through a partisan lens. As a father of a son and daughter-in-law currently serving our country in Afghanistan, I'm proud to say that that is the case.

Today's NDAA includes an amendment I added that would mandate the Department of Defense implement a preliminary mental health assessment before individuals join the military. The goal is to assure mental health resiliency for those who will be facing the combat realities of war. The suicide rate among our military is unacceptable, and this amendment will help reduce it.

The Department of Defense has done medical assessments for many years. It is time we bring mental health to parity in preliminary assessments. We must focus on the overall well-being of the force.

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