Give Now

Donnelly Pushes Bill Aimed At Preventing Military Suicides

This is the senator's second attempt to pass legislation addressing the problem that’s killing hundreds of service members each year.

Joe Donnelly

Photo: Dan Goldblatt/WFIU-WTIU News

Sen. Joe Donnelly, D-Indiana, says his new bill is meant to reiterate that seeking help with mental health is a sign of strength.

The first bill Sen. Joe Donnelly, D-Indiana, authored  in the Senate was the Jacob Sexton Military Suicide Prevention Ac t of 2013. The bill is named for a Hoosier National Guard member who took his life while home on leave from Afghanistan.

The legislation didn’t go anywhere, but Donnelly says this year’s version is vastly improved.

He says changes include expanding mental health screenings to more than just those within the deployment cycle.

Donnelly says its important that members of the National Guard and Reserve also have opportunities to talk to someone and to “have their challenges dealt with.”

The legislation would also create a working group between the Department of Defense and the Department of Health and Human Services to identify best practices and generate improvements in mental health services.

The senator recently returned from a trip to Israel, and he says the U.S. could consider programs like the ones the Israeli military uses.

“Much of the training goes to the first line supervisors,” Donnelly says. “Much of the training goes to people right in the field who can then provide information on any soldier they feel is suffering from challenges.”

Donnelly says the bill is also meant to reiterate that seeking help is a sign of strength, not weakness and that servicemembers’ privacy will be maintained.

Brandon Smith, IPBS

Brandon Smith, IPBS has previously worked as a reporter and anchor for KBIA Radio in Columbia, MO, and at WSPY Radio in Plano, IL as a show host, reporter, producer and anchor. Brandon graduated from the University of Missouri-Columbia with a Bachelor of Journalism in 2010, with minors in political science and history. He was born and raised in Chicago.

View all posts by this author »

What is RSS? RSS makes it possible to subscribe to a website's updates instead of visiting it by delivering new posts to your RSS reader automatically. Choose to receive some or all of the updates from Indiana Public Media News:

Support For Indiana Public Media Comes From

Search News

Stay Connected

RSS e-mail itunes Facebook Twitter Flickr YouTube

Follow us on Twitter

What is RSS? RSS makes it possible to subscribe to a website's updates instead of visiting it by delivering new posts to your RSS reader automatically. Choose to receive some or all of the updates from Indiana Public Media News:

Recent Politics Stories

Recent Videos

Find Us on Facebook