Murkowski Veteran’s Mental Health Efforts Reflected in Defense Bill

Senator’s Legislation Mirrored in Provision Within NDAA

Senator Lisa Murkowski today announced that her priority of working for veterans’ health and well-being on the home front through the DoD Suicide Tracking Act of 2014 has been included within the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA).  With the NDAA having passed the House of Representatives overwhelmingly yesterday, Murkowski is one step closer to helping empower the nation’s military community against the tragic and all too prevalent problem of suicide.

Senator Murkowski introduced the DoD Suicide Tracking Act of 2014 in May to improve and inform the Pentagon’s strategy in responding to the high number of suicides among the military ranks and their family members as the nation attempts to wind down its efforts in Iraq and Afghanistan.

“Oftentimes, the most consuming wounds our veterans deal with are the unseen ones they battle internally, which is why military suicide claims an unacceptable 22 lives a day on average. We simply must do better for our men and women in uniform and their families,” said Murkowski, “This language in the NDAA will make sure that our government collects data and analyzes trends more intelligently to help determine the best approach to protect the lives and well-being of those who fought for us.”

Specifically, the DoD Suicide Tracking Act of 2014:

  • Improves consistency in reserve component suicide prevention and resiliency programs: Requires the Secretary of Defense to develop a standard method for collecting, reporting, and assessing suicide data and suicide attempt data involving members of the National Guard and Reserves.
  • Establishes a DoD suicide prevention program for military dependents: Requires each service to implement programs to track, report and analyze information regarding suicides involving active duty and reserve family members.