Text: H.R.5771 — 109th Congress (2005-2006)

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Introduced in House (07/12/2006)


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[Congressional Bills 109th Congress]
[From the U.S. Government Printing Office]
[H.R. 5771 Introduced in House (IH)]








109th CONGRESS
  2d Session
                                H. R. 5771

           To reduce the incidence of suicide among veterans.


_______________________________________________________________________


                    IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

                             July 12, 2006

Mr. Boswell (for himself, Mrs. Napolitano, Mr. Evans, Mr. Michaud, Ms. 
   Corrine Brown of Florida, Mr. Filner, Mr. Ford, Mr. Salazar, Ms. 
Harman, Mr. Edwards, Mr. Ross, Mr. Holden, Mr. Thompson of California, 
 Mr. Tanner, Mr. Marshall, Mr. Etheridge, Mr. Melancon, Ms. Bean, Mr. 
Taylor of Mississippi, Mr. Boren, Mr. Berry, Mr. McDermott, Mr. Stark, 
  Mr. Cleaver, Mr. Hoyer, Mr. Frank of Massachusetts, Mr. Olver, Mr. 
 Larson of Connecticut, and Mr. Murtha) introduced the following bill; 
        which was referred to the Committee on Veterans' Affairs

_______________________________________________________________________

                                 A BILL


 
           To reduce the incidence of suicide among veterans.

    Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the 
United States of America in Congress assembled,

SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.

    This Act may be cited as the ``Joshua Omvig Veterans Suicide 
Prevention Act''.

SEC. 2. COMPREHENSIVE PROGRAM FOR SUICIDE PREVENTION AMONG VETERANS.

    The Secretary of Veterans Affairs shall develop and implement a 
comprehensive program for reducing the incidence of suicide among 
veterans.

SEC. 3. SPECIFICS OF PROGRAM.

    (a) Staff Education.--The program shall provide for mandatory 
training for appropriate staff and contractors (including all medical 
personnel) of the Department of Veterans Affairs who interact with 
veterans. This training shall cover information appropriate to the 
staff or contractor's job description. The training shall include 
information on--
            (1) recognizing risk factors for suicide;
            (2) proper protocols for responding to crisis situations 
        involving veterans who may be at high risk for suicide; and
            (3) best practices for suicide prevention.
    (b) Screening of Veterans Receiving Medical Care.--The program 
shall provide for screening of veterans who receive medical care at a 
Department of Veterans Affairs medical facility (including a center 
established under section 1712A of title 38, United States Code) for 
risk factors for suicide.
    (c) Tracking of Veterans.--The program shall provide for 
appropriate tracking of veterans.
    (d) Counseling and Treatment of Veterans.--The program shall 
provide for referral of at-risk veterans for appropriate counseling and 
treatment.
    (e) Designation of Suicide Prevention Counselors.--The program 
shall provide for the designation of a suicide prevention counselor at 
each Department of Veterans Affairs medical facility other than centers 
established under section 1712A of title 38, United States Code. Each 
counselor shall work with local emergency rooms, police departments, 
local mental health organizations, and veterans service organizations 
to engage in outreach to veterans and improve the coordination of 
mental health care to veterans.
    (f) Best Practices Research.--The program shall provide for 
research on best practices for suicide prevention among veterans.
    (g) Sexual Trauma Research.--The program shall provide for research 
on mental health care for veterans who have experienced sexual trauma 
while in military service. The research design shall include 
consideration of veterans of a reserve component.
    (h) 24-Hour Mental Health Care.--The program shall provide for 
mental health care availability to veterans on a 24-hour basis.
    (i) Hotline.--The program may provide for a toll-free hotline for 
veterans staffed by appropriately trained mental health personnel and 
available at all times.
    (j) Other Components.--The program may provide for other actions to 
reduce the incidence of suicide among veterans that the Secretary of 
Veterans Affairs deems appropriate.

SEC. 4. REPORT TO CONGRESS.

    (a) Timing of Report.--The Secretary shall submit a report to 
Congress no later than 90 days after the enactment of this Act.
    (b) Contents of Report.--The report shall state the status of the 
implementation of the program developed pursuant to section 2. The 
report shall also state the timeline and costs for complete 
implementation of the program within two years.

SEC. 5. SENSE OF CONGRESS.

    It is the sense of Congress that--
            (1) suicide among veterans suffering from post-traumatic 
        stress disorder (PTSD) is a serious problem; and
            (2) the Secretary of Veterans Affairs should take into 
        consideration the special needs of veterans suffering from PTSD 
        in developing and implementing the comprehensive program 
        required by this Act.
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