Donnelly weighs in on military suicide prevention

Mar 6, 2013

U.S. Senator Joe Donnelly said he wants greater focus on preventing suicide among active-duty military service-members and veterans which includes increasing outreach to vets.

U.S. Sen. Joe Donnelly (D-IN)

Last year, more combat troops took their own lives than died in combat in Afghanistan.  And Sen. Donnelly said 43 % of service members who committed suicide never sought help.  He said trying to combat the problem of military and veteran suicide needs to involve erasing the stigma of seeking help.

"They feel like, 'Well, I don't want to burden somebody' or 'I don't want anybody to have to worry about me' or 'I don't want anybody to have to spend an extra thought on me,'" Donnelly said.

A member of the Senate’s Armed Services Committee, Donnelly said he’s also concerned not enough veterans are taking advantage of the programs and support provided by veterans’ organizations.

"Whether it is in internet, online ads, whether it is on TV ads, whether it is on the radio that we tell them 'Look you have a friend; give us a call, let's see what we can do to work together,'" Donnelly said.

Donnelly said he also wants to ensure organizations like the VA have enough mental health professionals available, which he said has been part of the challenge in curbing military suicide.