Military suicides increased by 15% in 2020, underscoring the need for streamlined suicide prevention efforts at the DOD
WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Tommy Tuberville (R-AL) joined Senators Joni Ernst (R-IA) and Mark Kelly (D-AZ) to introduce the Save our Servicemembers (S.O.S.) Act, which directs the Department of Defense to evaluate the effectiveness of their suicide prevention programs and implement new preventative measures in accordance with recommendations made by the Government Accountability Office (GAO).
“Serving your country should not mean that you receive lower quality mental health services and treatment. Service member suicide is at an all-time high and, and we should take every opportunity to improve and amplify mental health resources to benefit our men and women in uniform. One life lost to suicide is too many,” said Senator Tuberville.
GAO recommendations include:
- Assessing individual non-clinical prevention efforts to determine their effectiveness.
- Improving data collection by reducing duplication and developing consistent suicide-related definitions to be used department-wide. This is in response to concerns that inconsistent definitions could be impeding the ability to access and improve prevention programs.
- Strengthening collaboration between DOD offices, specifically between the Defense Suicide Prevention Office (DSPO) and the Psychological Health Center of Excellence on the production of the annual suicide reports.
Senator Tuberville has also championed solutions to address the veterans’ suicide epidemic including introducing the HBOT Access Act to provide Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy for veterans experiencing post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI).
If you or a loved one are struggling with mental health, the Military Crisis Line is free, confidential, and open 24/7 – call 1-800-273-8255, text 838255, or visit Veteranscrisisline.net/get-help/chat for assistance.
Senator Tommy Tuberville represents Alabama in the United States Senate and is a member of the Senate Armed Services, Agriculture, Veterans’ Affairs, and HELP Committees.