House passes bill to help prevent female veteran suicides

The House passed legislation on Tuesday to identify programs offered by the Department of Veterans’ Affairs that are most effective in preventing suicides among female veterans.

Lawmakers said the measure, approved by voice vote, would offer insights into how to best address any unique factors that drive female veterans to commit suicide.

Recent findings from the Department of Veterans’ Affairs (VA) show that female veterans are significantly more likely to commit suicide than their male counterparts. A 2013 VA report found that about 18 to 22 veterans die each day from suicide. 

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Young female veterans between the ages of 18 to 29 are nearly 12 times more likely to commit suicide than women who didn’t serve in the military, the VA found.

The bill passed on Tuesday expands upon a 2015 law that requires a third party to evaluate suicide prevention programs offered by the VA and the Defense Department.

Rep. Julia BrownleyJulia BrownleyHouse votes to restrict IRS hires and funding EMILY's List names incumbent Dems it will fundraise for House passes bill to help prevent female veteran suicides MORE (D-Calif.), the bill’s author, said it’s unclear which factors play into the high rate of female veteran suicides, such as military sexual assault or other gender-related experiences. Most research into causes of suicide has centered on male veterans, who make up more than 90 percent of the veteran population.

“Without looking more closely at the root causes, we cannot hope to find better solutions,” Brownley said. 

 

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