TOWN OF FENTON (WBNG) — Congressman Anthony Brindisi (D-22) had his first bill passed through the House of Representatives on Tuesday. The Support for Suicide Prevention Coordinators Act, which is now on the way to the Senate, looks to prevent veterans from taking their own life.
“Right now we’re seeing a crisis in terms of veterans suicide,” explained Brindisi.
The progress of the bill comes as a win for the 1st term congressman, but would be even a greater success for the men and women who protect our way of life.
“War time and being deployed is very stressful,” explained Jim Coughlin. The veteran was an army officer who served in Germany, Korea and the United States.
According to a Veterans Affairs (VA) study about 20 veterans kill themselves everyday in the United States. Unfortunately many veterans come home with PTSD or injuries that haunt them the rest of their lives. Congressman Brindisi wants veterans to know there’s help out there.
“Many of the veterans who commit suicide, the vast majority do not come forward to seek services from the VA, and we want to make sure they know there are services available for them to be able to address whatever needs they have.”
The act, which Brindisi said is bipartisan legislation, addresses suicide prevention coordinators. He said the coordinators are the first line of defense at the VA to address veterans suicide. Unfortunately the large number of cases throughout the country has made it hard for the coordinators to keep up. The legislation would potentially put more coordinators seeking to help veterans, making more resources available to veterans.
“Money spent taking care of our veterans is money well spent,” said Brindisi, when asked if it would cost taxpayers.
“More funding is always a good thing for things like that,” agreed veteran Jeff Culver.
“If there’s programs available and resources, maybe other people can assist the soldiers from making poor choices,” said Coughlin.
Some of those resources includes at American Legion Post 1194, where Coughlin and Culver spend time. The post will take part in cemetery and memorial services on Memorial Day.
“We owe it to our veterans who certainly have put their time in,” said Brindisi. “Now it’s time for us, as a country, to step up and make sure they have the resources they need to live a healthy life after active duty.”