In a bipartisan effort, along with Rep. Thomas Rooney (R-FL) and Michael McMahon (D-NY), Tom introduced a new bill to reduce the number of suicides among our soldiers and veterans. From their press release:
Currently, the Department of Defense requires service members to fill out a mental health assessment before returning home. Unfortunately, if this subjective paper assessment is filled out honestly and indicates risk for post-traumatic stress disorder, traumatic brain injury or depression, the service member may be prevented from returning home in order to ensure that the mental condition does not go untreated. The delay in returning home coupled with the stigma associated with reaching out for help to treat a mental injury prevents soldiers from being honest in their assessments. A mandatory screening for all service members can reduce the growing rates of suicides amongst service members while fighting this debilitating stigma.Money quote from Tom, emphasis original:
“With the Army reporting the highest number of soldier suicides in 28 years, we can no longer afford to keep mental health screening in the shadows,” said Rep. Perriello. “Our brave men and women in uniform, especially those serving in recent wars, deserve confidential and comprehensive medical treatment as they adjust to life back home. I’m proud to introduce this bipartisan legislation with my colleagues because taking care of our returning troops is something both parties can agree on.”For those of you keeping score, that's two pieces of legislation in less than two month's time. That's rockstar status in my mind.