Press Releases

Roe Applauds Language Encouraging Suicide Prevention

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Washington, June 12, 2019 | Whitley Alexander (202-226-6356) | comments

WASHINGTON D.C. – Rep. Phil Roe, M.D. (R-Tenn.) released the following statement regarding the inclusion of an amendment he worked to have included in the base text of H.R. 2500, the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year (FY) 2020. The House Armed Services Committee is marking the legislation up today. Roe stated: 

“I want thank Chairman Adam Smith and Ranking Member Mac Thornberry for including language in the NDAA that encourages additional suicide prevention efforts aimed at assisting members of the National Guard. There were a total of 321 active-duty members of our Armed Forces that died by suicide last year. On average, 20 veterans die by suicide every day. We need to do everything we can to get these numbers to zero, and that will be done by encouraging additional prevention programs and mental health initiatives. Tennessee’s National Guard uses a very promising program called Guard Your Buddy, which gives guard members the ability to seek immediate assistance through an app on their phone. This bill gives the authority to the National Guard to expand efforts like Guard Your Buddy through a pilot program. It’s clear with an issue as serious and as prevalent as veteran and servicemember suicide, we need to do everything we can to provide access to effective care and resources. I am hopeful this pilot program will help us identify effective programs that can help save lives.”

Note: The FY 20 NDAA includes authorization for the Chief of the National Guard Bureau to carry out a pilot program expanding suicide prevention and intervention efforts, and would require the Secretary of Defense to conduct and submit a report to Congress on prevention metrics and suicides among members of the Armed Forces. Congressman Roe has been a strong advocate for programs that work to reduce servicemember and veteran suicide. Tennessee has an innovative program called Guard Your Buddy that enables our servicemembers to seek immediate access to crisis response, counseling and on-call suicide prevention all through an application on one’s phone. This program has shown success in reducing Tennessee’s National Guard suicides by 68 percent and successfully intervened in over 154 cases. 
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Tags: Veterans