The House of Representatives on Wednesday passed the Joshua Omvig Veterans Suicide Prevention Act. Introduced by Iowa Congressman Leonard Boswell, the measure was named in memory of a soldier from Grundy Center who took his own life after returning from a tour of duty in Iraq.
He says upon becoming close to the family, he realized it’s a far-reaching problem. "A lot of that’s going on," Boswell says. The legislation would have V-A medical centers screen all soldiers returning from active duty for suicide risk factors, and track those who are at risk. It would require each Veterans Administration hospital to designate a suicide prevention counselor, and offer outreach to veterans and their families.
"We do about anything for the visible wounds we see," Boswell says, "but there’s the invisible wounds as well." He says that aspect’s been kind of overlooked but must be taken care of. The bill also establishes a 24-hour suicide hotline for veterans.