Bush Signs Suicide Prevention Bill For Veterans

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Suicide Prevention For Veterans

President Bush on Monday signed into law a veterans' suicide prevention bill (HR 327) that will require mental health training for Department of Veterans Affairsstaff, mental health screenings for all veterans who receive VA careand a suicide counselor for each VA health care facility, the AP/Fort Worth Star-Telegramreports. The law also supports outreach and education efforts forveterans and their families, as well as peer support counseling andsuicide prevention research (AP/Fort Worth Star-Telegram, 11/5).

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Counseling

In related news, the Washington Post on Tuesday profiled Give an Hour,a not-for-profit group of psychologists, social workers and othercounselors from 40 states and Washington, D.C., that provides no-costcounseling for soldiers, their families and unmarried partners.According to Barbara Romberg, a district clinical psychologist wholaunched the group, the goal of the organization is to supplementservices offered by the Department of Defenseand VA because the departments do not offer counseling to the familiesof servicemembers.

Many relatives of servicemembers may be reluctant toseek mental health care because of financial reasons or concerns thatseeking counseling could jeopardize their family member's militarycareer, according to the Post. Under the program,volunteers provide free-of-charge counseling one hour per week for aminimum of one year. The program currently has more than 720 volunteersproviding services to about 50 clients (Boodman, Washington Post, 11/6).

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