Military suicide prevention act implemented by Armed Forces

U.S. Sen. Joe Donnelly of Indiana

INDIANAPOLIS (WANE) A measure designed to curb suicide among military servicemembers has been implemented throughout the nation’s Armed Forces.

The Jacob Sexton Military Suicide Prevention Act, authored by U.S. Sen. Joe Donnelly of Indiana, was implemented throughout the Armed Forces Monday. The bill seeks to prevent military suicide by requiring all service members to have an annual mental health assessment.

Donnelly, alongside Indiana Adjutant General Maj. Gen. Courtney Carr and Indiana National Guard Chief Behavioral Sciences Officer Maj. Scott Edwards at the Indiana National Guard headquarters in Indianapolis, said the Sexton Act “aims to end the scourge of military suicide” by recognizing the mental fitness is as important as physical fitness.

“The goal is to better identify those who are struggling with mental health challenges, and to ensure that they can receive the help they need before it’s too late,” said Donnelly. “In addition, the Sexton Act maintains strong privacy protections for servicemembers. We must ensure that seeking help remains a sign of strength by protecting the privacy of our servicemembers.

The Sexton Act is named for Hoosier Jacob Sexton, a National Guardsman, who took his life in 2009.

“We owe it to the Sextons, to families across Indiana, and to families across our country who experience this tragedy, to make sure it never happens again,” said Donnelly.