IAVA’s ‘Storm the Hill’ Campaign Addresses Veteran Suicides

The following redaction appeared on ABC News and was written by Chris Good (@c_good):

Commemorating Suicides, Vets Plant 1,892 Flags on National Mall

 

To commemorate and raise awareness, 32 veterans flew to Washington, D.C., to plant 1,892 flags on the National Mall today, one for each of the veterans that the group says took his or her own life in 2014. 

 

The event was part of IAVA’s 2014 Storm the Hill campaign, an annual week of action in which organization vets meet with lawmakers to push a veterans’ agenda picked for that year. In 2013, it was the Veterans Affairs benefits-claim backlog; this year, it’s veteran suicides.

 

The Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America is pushing a bill, the Suicide Prevention for America’s Veterans Act, which Sen. John Walsh, D-Mont., plans to introduce. Walsh commanded a Montana National Guard battalion in Iraq. “When we returned home, one of my young sergeants died by suicide, so this is very personal to me,” Walsh told reporters on the Mall today, calling veteran suicides “an epidemic we cannot allow to continue.”

 

The bill would extend eligibility for Veterans Administration health care, create a pilot program for student-loan repayment if health care professionals work for the VA, instigate a review of certain behavioral discharges, and mandate a review of mental health care programs at the VA, IAVA said.

 

The group is calling on Congress to pass the bill by Memorial Day.

 

The article in its entirety can be found at: http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/politics/2014/03/commemorating-suicides-vets-plant-1892-flags-on-national-mall/

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