WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congressman Dave Joyce (OH-14) recently introduced a resolution declaring September 30th as National Veterans Suicide Awareness and Prevention Day. Introduced during National Suicide Prevention Awareness Month, this bipartisan resolution seeks to recognize the invisible wounds that often come with armed service and their heartbreaking impacts on the veteran community.
“One veteran lost to suicide is one too many,” said Congressman Joyce. “After our heroes return from defending our freedoms, it is our responsibility to ensure they have the resources they need to live a lifetime of happiness. By designating September 30th as National Veterans Suicide Awareness and Prevention Day, we are letting our servicemembers know we are on their side. I want to thank my colleagues for joining me on this resolution to amplify the importance of veteran suicide prevention efforts in Ohio and across the country.”
“Even one veteran losing his or her life to suicide is too many,” said Senator Brown. “Our servicemembers and veterans bravely stepped up and answered the call to serve. We have a responsibility to ensure they have the resources and healthcare they need to care for their mental and physical health, to prevent any more lives lost to suicide.”
“Every veteran who loses their life to suicide is a tragedy,” said Rep. Sykes. “I’m proud to introduce this bipartisan resolution alongside my Northeast Ohio colleagues to raise awareness about the struggles our veterans face so they know they’re not alone. This resolution reaffirms our commitment to eliminating the stigma surrounding mental healthcare to ensure no veteran dies by suicide.”
“I am proud to support this bipartisan effort to support our nation’s veterans and their families. Those who have put everything on the line to serve and protect our Democratic principles, deserve no less. This important legislation will help raise awareness around the tragedy that is veteran suicide and shows our unyielding support to survivor families,” said Congresswoman Shontel Brown.
This resolution was cosponsored by Congresswoman Emilia Sykes (D-OH), Congressman Robert Latta (R-OH), Congressman Bill Johnson (R-OH), Congressman Greg Landsman (D-OH), Congressman Max Miller (R-OH), Congressman Troy Balderson (R-OH), Congressman Mike Carey (R-OH), and Congressman John Carter (R-TX). Senator Sherrod Brown (D-OH) introduced the companion resolution in the Senate.
In April, Congressman Joyce also introduced the Military Suicide Prevention in the 21st Century Act, a bipartisan bill designed to utilize technology to reduce the suicide rate among military servicemembers by requiring that a mental health application is downloaded on all government-issued phones provided to servicemembers.
According to the VA’s 2022 National Veteran Suicide Prevention Annual Report, the suicide rate for veterans was 57.3% greater than the suicide rate for non-veteran U.S. adults in 2020. Reasons for these sobering numbers include high exposure to trauma, stress and burnout, isolation and loneliness, and difficulties reintegrating into civilian life, to name a few.
Officials at the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) have recognized that standard clinical interventions, while helpful on an individual level, are often not enough to address these challenges. Many veterans do not use the VA healthcare system and are underutilizing or unaware of the services available to them, especially regarding mental health services. Awareness of veteran suicide is key to spread availability of veteran healthcare services and promote suicide prevention.
Read the full resolution here.