Rep. Gibson: New law could save lives of veterans


5876629_origBy Joe Mahoney

Legislation designed to improve the delivery of mental health services to military veterans, co-authored by Rep. Chris Gibson, R-Kinderhook, has been signed into law by President Barack Obama.

The Clay Hunt Suicide Prevention for American Veterans Act was named for a decorated Marine Corps veteran who took his own life in 2011 after he developed post-traumatic stress disorder and depression following combat tours in Iraq and Afghanistan.

 According to a recent study published by the Annals of Epidemiology, veterans face a suicide risk double that of the civilian population.

“This bill makes it far easier for returning servicemen and women to get the care they need, including valuable peer-to-peer support, and it makes provisions to grow the ranks of mental health professionals working within the Veterans Administration and Department of Defense,” said Gibson, who served in the U.S. Army for 29 years before entering the Congress a little more than four years ago.

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