Friday, December 12, 2014

104 military suicides in latest quarter

Military suicides continue.  They get less and less attention from the press.

Why is that?

Better question: How many more have to die before the Senate takes some action?

The Defense Dept issued the following yesterday:


Release No: NR-614-14
December 11, 2014

Department of Defense Releases Second Quarter Suicide Information

  Today, the Department of Defense released the quarterly suicide report (QSR) for the second quarter of calendar year 2014.
The report summarizes suicide counts for all services and components during the months of April through June of this year. Counts were down in all components from the first quarter. There were 70 suicides among service members in the active component, 14 suicides among service members in the reserves, and 20 suicides among service members in the National Guard.
The report also shows annual suicide rates and counts for 2012 and 2013.
The QSR is intended to communicate the department's suicide data on a routine basis. A breakdown of second quarter, 2014, suicide counts and resources for service members and their families, who may be facing challenges, can be found here.
Additional information is available on the Suicide Prevention Office website at
Service members or their friends and family seeking support can reach out to the Military Crisis Line, which offers free and confidential support to service members and their family or friends in crisis. The service is staffed by caring, qualified responders from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), many who have served in the military themselves. Support is offered through the crisis line, online chat, and text-messaging services for all service members (active, National Guard and reserve) and veterans 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year by visiting the Military Crisis Line website at; Online Chat at; sending a text to: 838255 or calling toll free at: 1-800-273-8255, Press 1

In the face on the ongoing crisis, the House this week passed the Clay Hunt Suicide Prevention for America’s Veterans (SAV) Act.  The Senate refuses to do the same.

Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America issued the following yesterday:

Washington D.C. (December 11, 2014) — Susan and Richard Selke, parents of Iraq and Afghanistan war veteran Clay Hunt, are imploring Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) to lift his Parliamentary hold on the Clay Hunt Suicide Prevention for America’s Veterans (SAV) Act, which is preventing it from receiving a vote in the Senate. The bill, named after their son, a Marine who died by suicide in 2011, will improve access to quality mental health care for veterans and combat a national suicide crisis that’s resulting in the deaths of 22 veterans every day.
The bipartisan legislation passed the House by a unanimous voice vote on Tuesday. A full list of the bi-partisan Senate co-sponsors can be found here:
Screen Shot 2014-12-11 at 6.23.10 PM
The Selkes, who have been advocating for the comprehensive legislation since the summer, dropped off a petition of more than 60,000 signatures urging passage of the Clay Hunt SAV Act at Senator Coburn’s office yesterday afternoon.
Richard Selke spoke directly to Senator Coburn in a video: “I understand you are a man of principles, and that you very vehemently and painstakingly watch over our national budget,” said Selke. “Susan and I are conservative Republicans from the state of Texas. I appreciate your vigilance over our budget. The bill we are talking about is projected to cost about $22 million dollars. That’s a lot of money to me. It’s a lot of money to you. But in the context of the value of a human life, it is insignificant.”
Selke noted that 22 veterans, on average, die by suicide every day. “There are some things in this bill that might have saved Clay’s life, and that might have saved some other veterans’ lives” if the resources found in the Clay Hunt SAV Act would have been available.
According to a recent survey conducted by IAVA veterans, 47 percent of respondents said they know at least one Iraq or Afghanistan veteran who has attempted suicide, while 40 percent of respondents know someone who has died by suicide, up three points from 2013.
The Senate is expected to end its current legislative session by Friday. If the bill does not receive a vote in the Senate before adjournment it dies and vets will be left to begin the entire process again — if possible — in the next Congress.
“We appreciate the House voting unanimously to support the bill and the Democrats and Republicans in the Senate who have already given their approval. Now Senator Coburn has to ask himself: How many vets will die by suicide in the coming months because he alone decided to stand in the way of one of the least costly bills in front of this Congress?” asked IAVA Legislative Director Alex Nicholson.

Note to media: Email or call 212-982-9699 to speak with IAVA CEO and Founder Paul Rieckhoff or IAVA leadership.
Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America ( is the nation's first and largest nonpartisan, nonprofit organization representing veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan and has nearly 300,000 Member Veterans and civilian supporters nationwide. Celebrating its 10th year anniversary, IAVA recently received the highest rating - four-stars - from Charity Navigator, America's largest charity evaluator.

How long does the Senate plan to continue to fail veterans?