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Suicide Prevention Bill Inspired By Indiana Vet Passes

Sexton

U.S. Senator Joe Donnelly says he feels “overwhelmingly positive and happy” that Congress has passed a bill he says will save lives.

The Jacob Sexton Act, which was added to the annual national defense bill, provides yearly mental health screenings to all military members – including the National Guard and reservists – while ensuring those who seek help aren’t denied career advancement as a result.

Donnelly says its passage was possible because of a nonstop, two-year effort by many people, including Jeff and Barb Sexton.  Donnelly says their son Jacob was a National Guardsman from Farmland, Indiana who took his own life while on leave from Afghanistan in 2009.

“And, Jeff and Barb Sexton, who were kind enough to step up and out of their own tragedy try to make something positive of it, have been inspirational to me in every way," Donnelly says. "So, the goal is that every service member has a chance to not worry about being stigmatized, that they can seek help.”

Jeff Sexton says the day the bill passed would have been Jacob’s 27th birthday:

“I can’t think of a better birthday present for him or a better birthday present for all the men and women and their families in the military,” Jeff says.

Donnelly says the bill also requires a report that will provide best practices for reducing suicide from each military branch.

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