Obama to sign veterans suicide prevention bill

Speaker of the House John Boehner, R-Ohio, joined by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., left, leads a ceremony for the Clay Hunt Suicide Prevention for American Veterans Act, at the Capitol in Washington, Tuesday, Feb. 10, 2015. The bill is named for Clay Hunt, a Marine Corps combat veteran who died by suicide in March 2011 at the age of 28. The legislation, which now goes to President Obama for his signature, calls for evaluation of existing Veterans Affairs mental health and suicide prevention programs, and expands the reach of these programs for veterans. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama is joining with lawmakers and government leaders to cast a spotlight on the issue of suicide among veterans.

Obama on Thursday will sign the Clay Hunt Suicide Prevention for American Veterans Act into law. First lady Michelle Obama, Veterans Affairs Secretary Robert McDonald and veterans are expected to attend the White House ceremony.

The measure is named for a Marine who struggled with post-traumatic stress disorder after serving in Iraq and Afghanistan. Hunt killed himself in 2011 in Texas.

The bill creates a pilot program to help veterans transition out of active duty, and it creates a website to provide veterans with information about available mental health services.

The bill also requires the VA’s suicide prevention programs to be evaluated annually by a third party.

 

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