Press Release of U.S. Senator Barbara Boxer
|For Immediate Release: |
March 14, 2008
Washington D.C. Office (202) 224-3553
Senators Boxer and Lieberman Introduce Legislation to Address Military Suicides
Washington, D.C.—U.S. Senators Barbara Boxer (D-CA) and Joseph Lieberman (I-CT) today introduced legislation to help address the challenging issue of suicide within our Armed Forces.
Last year, 121 soldiers committed suicide and another 2,100 attempted suicide, the latter being a six-fold increase since 2002.
The Boxer-Lieberman legislation would require the Department of Defense (DoD) to establish a comprehensive and detailed database on suicides and attempted suicides. The bill also requires that the DoD provide Congress with regular updates on this information.
Senator Boxer said, “This legislation will help ensure that the Defense Department and Congress are getting an adequate picture of the state of mental health within our Armed Forces. Over the past several years, there have been troubling reports about suicides and attempted suicides in our Armed Forces. We need to do a better job of tracking these trends so that we can provide our soldiers with appropriate mental health care and prevent further tragedy. I look forward to working with Senator Lieberman as well as the Defense Department to develop policies that will help keep the members of our Armed Forces strong in body and mind.”
“I remain alarmed about the increasing rate of suicide in our military. This legislation puts more comprehensive mechanisms in place to guarantee we have better information when a tragedy occurs,” said Senator Lieberman. “The consequences of failing are simply too great. This legislation will move us toward a system predicated on prevention and accountability.”
The provision is modeled after the Army’s Suicide Event Report (ASER) and will not include names or personal information.