U.S. Senator Joe Donnelly says he wants greater focus on preventing suicide among active-duty military servicemembers and veterans. That includes increasing outreach to vets.
Last year, more combat troops took their own life than died in combat in Afghanistan. And Senator Joe Donnelly says 43 percent of service members who committed suicide never sought help. He says trying to combat the problem of military and veteran suicide needs to involve erasing the stigma of seeking help.
“They feel like, ‘Well, I don’t want to burden somebody’ or ‘I don’t want anybody to have to worry about me’ or ‘I don’t want anybody to have to spend an extra thought on me,’” he says.
A member of the Senate’s Armed Services Committee, Donnelly says he’s also concerned not enough veterans are taking advantage of the programs and support provided by veterans’ organizations.
“Whether it is in internet, online ads, whether it is on TV ads, whether it is on radio – that we tell them, ‘Look, you have a friend; give us a call, let’s see what we can do to work together,’”
Donnelly says he also wants to ensure organizations like the VA have enough mental health professionals available, which he says has been part of the challenge in curbing military suicide.