Obama to hold public ceremony for veterans suicide prevention bill

President Obama on Thursday will sign legislation meant to help prevent suicides among veterans during a public ceremony.

The president will sign the Clay Hunt Suicide Prevention for American Veterans Act into law in a ceremony from the East Room of the White House, said a spokeswoman for the Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America.

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The advocacy group had pushed for Congress to pass the bill and had urged Obama to hold a public signing ceremony.

The Senate voted 99-0 to pass the legislation last week; it sailed through the House in a 403-0 vote last month.

The legislation, named after a Marine Corps veteran who took his life after serving tours in Iraq and Afghanistan, calls for independent audits of suicide-prevention programs in the Veterans Affairs and Defense departments to determine which are successful and which should be eliminated.

It would also create a website detailing mental health services and create incentives for college students who study psychiatric medicine and commit to working at the VA.

More than 8,000 veterans are estimated to commit suicide every year, according to the VA.