BRINDISI PASSES FIRST BILL THROUGH HOUSE
Brindisi’s Suicide Prevention Legislation Passes House and Moves to Senate
The House of Representatives passed Congressman Anthony Brindisi’s (NY-22) first bill today. Brindisi’s Support for Suicide Prevention Coordinators Act, a bill to help prevent veteran suicide, sailed through the House and is on its way to the Senate.
“It is critically important that we provide our Suicide Prevention Coordinators with the resources they need to successfully address veteran suicide, and this bill is a good step toward making sure that happens,” Brindisi said. “I am honored this bill passed the House, and I’ll continue to fight for all of our veterans because they fought hard for us.”
Community veterans praised Brindisi’s work and thanked him for ushering this bill across the finish line.
“In the last decade a large number of bills and initiatives have come out of Washington D.C. aiming to combat Veteran suicide, while all great in concept, we have not seen a huge change in suicide rate,” said Earl N. Fontenot with Clear Path for Veterans. “H.R. 2333 is a great way to measure what is effective, what is not, and how the VA should pivot on what they are currently doing to better meet the mental health needs of the Veterans they serve. We commend Congressman Brindisi for the great work in championing this bill and all of the other initiatives he has quickly begun working on in the House Veteran Affairs committee.”
“I support this bill because it will continue many of the positions that are needed to help our veterans,” said American Legion member Michael McDermott of Homer in Cortland County. “Many men and women are dying needlessly for lack of services of the VA. They are people that served their country and it is government that can help them now. VA counseling saved me years after returning from Vietnam. Please help our veterans now.”
“In light of the ever-widening epidemic, which is veteran suicide, it is encouraging to know that our national leadership is moving forward to confront the problem,” said Ben Margolius, President of Southern Tier Veterans Support Group. “The increase of suicide prevention coordinators in the field, boots on the ground in this battle, gives hope to those who otherwise would never receive care. Those of us who come into daily contact with our veterans applaud Congressman Brindisi in his efforts to stem the tide. The passage of H.R. 2333 represents an important step in assisting the Department of Veteran Affairs in preventing veteran suicides”
Brindisi introduced the Support for Suicide Prevention Coordinators Act (H.R. 2333) with Republican Congressmen Jim Banks (IN-03) and Mike Bost (IL-12). The bipartisan bill requires the Comptroller General of the United States to conduct an assessment of the responsibilities, workload, and vacancy rates of the Department of Veterans Affairs Suicide Prevention Coordinators. Senators Sullivan (R-AK) and Tester (D-MT) have introduced the bipartisan companion bill, S.1392.
Suicide Prevention Coordinators are the face of the VA’s efforts to combat veteran suicide. They identify high-risk veterans and ensure they receive appropriate care, conduct outreach, and promote awareness and suicide prevention best practices within VA, among other responsibilities. Many Suicide Prevention Coordinators report being overworked and unable to keep up with their many responsibilities. The Support for Suicide Prevention Coordinators Act would help ensure these men and women have the tools and resources they need to provide veterans with critical mental health resources.